The average number of job seekers in Germany was lower in 2018 than at any time since reunification in 1991, the Federal Labor Agency has said. Welfare numbers have also dropped, though the system is still controversial.
German annual unemployment figures for 2018 fell to record lows, though the number of job seekers increased from November to December of last year, the Federal Labor Agency (BA) reported on Friday.
The Labor Agency released statistics for the last month of 2018, as well as year-end figures, during a press conference at their offices in Nürnberg.
Details of the report
Labor agency analysis: Seasonal trend
Crucial moment in German economy
The historically low annual numbers for German unemployment came as some analysts have expressed concern over a potential slowdown in the German economy due to global trade tensions, market volatility and challenges to traditional stalwarts of the German economy, such as the auto industry.
Some economists have also warned that more and more Germans may be working, but are underemployed in precarious, low-wage jobs.
Record low for welfare recipients
One day prior to the release of the labor market statistics, the Labor Agency told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) that the number of recipients of Hartz IV, Germany's system of long-term unemployment benefits, had also hit a historic low.
Hartz IV has been controversial since its introduction in 2005 under then Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, a Social Democrat (SPD). Top SPD politicians today continue to call for the system's to be massively overhauled.
cmb/kms (AFP, KNA, dpa)