German unemployment rises as economy cools | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 31.07.2012
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German unemployment rises as economy cools

German unemployment has risen for the fourth month in a row, bringing the total number of jobless people to the highest level since the end of 2011. Economic risks are on the rise, says the Labor Agency.

The number of Germans registered as unemployed in July rose by 67,000 people to 2.876 million, lifting the unadjusted jobless rate to climb to 6.8 percent from 6.6 in June, the German Labor Agency said Tuesday.

This figure didn't account for seasonal factors, the Agency said, such as school-leavers registering unemployed or staff laid off by companies during the summer holiday season.

In figures adjusted for these factors, the number of people out of work increased by 7,000, which was the fourth consecutive monthly increase, the Agency concluded.

Labor Agency chief Frank-Jürgen Weise largely blamed seasonal impacts for the rise in unemployment, but added that the risks for the economy were "on the increase."

Losing momentum

"The underlying trend on the labor market remains positive, but there are signs of weakening," Weise told a regular news conference in Nuremberg.

ING Bank economist Carsten Bzeski said the German labor market was clearly "losing momentum."

"The light-hearted times are coming to an end, but given the level of employment there is no need to panic," he told AFP news agency.

Germany's jobless rate contrasts sharply with those of Spain and Greece, for example, where more than 20 percent of the workforce are without jobs. Two years of ongoing economic growth have fuelled a jobs miracle in Germany, resulting in solid pay hikes and robust domestic consumption.

However, latest retail figures released by the German Statistical Office Tuesday showed that sales slipped by 0.1 percent in June - the third month of small decline and presumably a first sign that the crisis in the eurozone is affecting Germany, too.

uhe/ipj (AFP, dpa, Reuters)