With barely three weeks to go before the Sept. 18 general election, the number of people looking for work in Germany declined in August, official data showed Wednesday, a development the government hailed as the long-awaited turnaround on the country's troubled labor market. According to the latest calculations by the Federal Labor Agency in Nuremberg, the German jobless total declined by 44,000 to 4.728 million in raw or unadjusted terms this month, bringing the jobless rate down to 11.4 percent from 11.5 percent. The improvement reversed -- at least partially -- the increase in unemployment seen the previous month. In July, the jobless queues had lengthened as students and school-leavers signed on at the start of the summer holidays. The fall in unemployment, however modest, will come as a welcome piece of news for the current government under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who is facing possible defeat in the Sept. 18 election as voters punish his failure to fulfill promises to create more jobs and get the euro zone's biggest economy back on its feet.