Surprising analysts, the German unemployment rate dropped somewhat in February. Some 33,000 fewer people were without work, putting the unadjusted total of unemployed at 3.3 million. The unadjusted unemployment rate - the one used in public debate - fell to 7.9 percent from 8.0 percent in January.
Seasonally adjusted the rate edged down to 7.3 percent from 7.4 percent.
"The demand for workers continues to rise," said Frank-Jürgen Weise, head of Germany's labor agency.
International demand continues to drive Europe's biggest economy, with signs that demand at home is increasing as well.
"The labor market remains the showcase of the German recovery," ING Bank economist Carsten Brzeski told the German wire service dpa.
Author: Holly Fox (AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Rob Turner