There was another fall in the number of Germans out of work in April, leaving just over three million people without a job, over 130,000 less than the previous month. Analysts have welcomed the good news.
The latest figures show another drop in jobseekers
The number of people out of work in Germany sank by 132,000 to 3,078,000 in the month of April. That was 321,000 less than the same period a year ago, according to the Federal Employment Agency. It's another sign of the strength of Europe's largest economy.
"The economic upswing has given rise to a stable, positive labor market development," Agency head Jürgen Weise announced on Thursday. He explained that the fall was slightly weaker than the same time last year, because Easter was late this year. Many employers were waiting until after the holidays to begin new recruitment.
Weise welcomed the positive labor market figures
The jobless rate also fell by 0.3 percent to 7.3 percent, almost at its lowest level since German reunification two decades ago.
If seasonal adjustment is taken into account, the numbers look even more dramatic. Seasonally adjusted figures show the number of jobless fell by 37,000 month on month, bringing the adjusted total to 2.97 million, its lowest point since 1992. The figures typically improve at the end of the winter.
According to the Reuters news agency, many analysts expressed a surprise at the extent of the fall in unemployment.
Eckart Tuchtfeld from the German Commerzbank said he was impressed by the figures.
"This is a really strong performance from the German labor market," Tuchtfeld told Reuters. "This is probably reflecting seasonal effects, including the sharp upturn in the spring, as well as the strong economy. That's why we're expecting continued falls in unemployment in the coming months."
Andreas Scheuerle of Dekabank also welcomed the news.
"These are outstanding figures," he said. "It's good for consumers, and for the national budget."
This year, Berlin expects the German economy to grow by 2.6 percent, ahead of European rivals Britain and Spain.
Author: Joanna Impey (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Rob Turner