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Germany

Seasonal factors drive German unemployment up in January

Official statistics show unemployment figures in Germany, Europe's largest economy, were up nearly 8 percent in January. But the Federal Labor Agency says seasonally adjusted figures show unemployment is actually down.

an man sits on the sidewalk outside an office of the Federal Labor Agency

The January unemployment rate was 7.9 percent

German unemployment figures increased in January in comparison to the previous month, according to official statistics released Tuesday.

The Federal Labor Agency (BA) has announced that 3.347 million people were officially registered as unemployed - 331,000 more than in December.

However, the prognosis was more positive than it seemed.

"Unemployment figures over the course of the winter break have increased, but if you consider the seasonally adjusted results, there has been a reduction in unemployment," said BA director Frank-Jürgen Weise.

Last January, there were 270,000 more people registered as unemployed than at the same time this year. The seasonally adjusted results, according to BA, mean there are actually 13,000 fewer unemployed this year.

Experts had predicted that the number of unemployed people would sink by about 10,000.

The results don't hold any big surprises, Postbank analyst Thilo Heidrich told Reuters news agency.

"The data are in the range of expectations. Unemployment should continue to fall in the coming months," Heidrich said, adding that conditions were good for a long-term fall in unemployment.

Author: Sarah Harman (dpa, AP)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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