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Business

Unemployment Reportedly Drops in June

The number of people looking for work in Germany dropped in June for the third month in a row, mass-selling daily Bild reported Friday, but the labor market showed little sign of a real turnaround. The newspaper said that about 60,000 fewer people were jobless this month versus in May, leaving the national total at 4.75 million unemployed. A year-on-year comparison showed 513,000 more people on the dole. Bild, the country's most-read newspaper, quoted preliminary figures from the Federal Labor Agency, the body responsible for compiling monthly unemployment statistics, in its front-page story. The paper quoted agency sources as saying that the wave of layoffs in the country appeared to be ebbing. As a result of changes in benefit rules, the jobless total in Germany rose dramatically at the beginning of this year, breaching the five-million mark in the first three months to the highest levels since World War II. But it fell below the politically critical barrier in April as better weather generally leads companies in sectors such as construction and farming to take on more workers. The news will nevertheless offer little relief to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who is expected to face an uphill battle for re-election in September.

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