German unemployment falls, but hiring slows | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 31.05.2011
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German unemployment falls, but hiring slows

German unemployment dropped again in May, although the rate of hiring slowed slightly. The jobless rate fell to 7 percent of the workforce, bringing the number of people out of work to fewer than 3 million.

A man walks past a job center in Germany

Unemployment figures declined again in May

German unemployment fell to 7 percent of the workforce in May, down from 7.3 percent the previous month, official data showed on Tuesday. A year ago, the unemployment rate stood at 7.7 percent.

The Federal Labor Agency said the unadjusted number of unemployed had fallen below 3 million, with a drop of 118,000 bringing the politically symbolic figure to 2.96 million.

"The positive developments in the labor market have also continued in May," said Frank-Jürgen Weise, head of the labor office. But, he added, "while the demand for labor is at a high level, it has weakened slightly."

When adjusted for seasonal and calendar fluctuations, the decline was a modest 8,000, which was less than the 30,000 drop predicted by analysts.

Economic upswing

The German economy is booming thanks to strong exports and investment. Analysts say manufacturers have well-stocked order books and are investing more, and the demand for labor should remain strong.

"The German labor market is very healthy," said German Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen. She said there were currently over a million positions not yet filled in Germany.

In an interview with German public television, von der Leyen said the new jobs were not just temporary work, instead describing them as "a bridge to work." Recently, opposition parties have criticized that the number of poorly-paid and temporary jobs is on the increase.

Author: Joanna Impey (AFP, AP, dpa)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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