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German unemployment at 14-year low

Germany’s jobless rate fell to 8.8% in September, its lowest level in over 14 years, showing Europe’s largest economy is in good health despite financial market turmoil and a strong euro.

Unemployment fell for the 18th month running, the Federal Labor Office said on Thursday, with the seasonally adjusted jobless total falling 50,000 to 3.694 million. A Reuters poll had pointed to a smaller monthly decline of 20,000. The fall in the seasonally adjusted jobless rate to 8.8% from a downwardly revised 8.9% in August took it down to the lowest level since June 1993. Today’s figures are a further boost for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government, which made cutting unemployment a priority when it took office in late 2005. A robust economic recovery has helped the jobless total fall steadily from a post-war high above 5 million in early 2005. Despite falling unemployment, German consumer spending has remained weak, and was dealt a blow in January by a 3 percentage point sale tax hike. (