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More Germans employed despite economic fears

September 30, 2019

Germany has marked a slight drop in unemployment despite fears of recession, with the joblessness rate dipping under 5% in September. German analysts worry about the fallout of Brexit and US protectionist policies.

People walking in front of Labor agency logo
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/O. Berg

The EU's economic powerhouse Germany reported that  unemployment dropped from 5.1% in August to 4.9% according to figures announced on Monday.

The job market usually grows in September, as more people are hired after the vacation season. Even so, this September boasts the lowest unemployment levels since the reunification of Germany in 1990.

The unusually strong figures came as a surprise to most analysts. The nation's economy contracted by 0.1% in this year's second quarter and experts believe data will show an additional slowdown between July and September. With the slump continuing throughout two consecutive quarters, the country would enter technical recession.

While describing the labor market as "robust," Germany's job agency chief Detlef Scheele warned that the employment spree was losing momentum.

'Robust' but troubled

Speaking to Handelsblatt daily, Scheele said that most of the factors suppressing the German economy come from outside its borders.

The problems stem from "Trump administration and insecurity when it comes to exports," Scheele said.

Read more: 'Made in Germany' products have best reputation

The German economy is oriented towards exporting high-quality goods, and the trade war between US and China or the threat of a no-deal Brexit is likely to have a serious impact.

German authorities say some 2.23 million people are now unemployed in Germany. The drop in unemployment is expected to end by the end of the year, however, and then reach nearly 2.35 million on average throughout 2020.

dj/rc (dpa, Reuters, AP)

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