The number of jobless in Germany continues to rise, according to the Federal Labor Office. Figures released on Wednesday for July show 4.35 million people were officially registered as unemployed, up 94,500 from the previous month. The percent of jobless in the population climbed to 10.4 percent, up slightly from 10.2 percent in June. Compared to a year ago, the number of unemployed increased by 305,000 to reach the highest record since 1997 and the second highest since unification. Florian Gerster, head of the Labor Office, cautioned the optimists not to set high hopes on government reforms leading to an improvement of the labor market. "The next half year will not bring the big breakthrough everyone is hoping for", Gerster said. A sustainable reduction in unemployment will not set in until 2004, he predicted.