Unemployment in Germany registered another sharp fall this month, according to data released on Thursday, bringing the number of jobseekers who have found work in the past year close to 1 million.
Underscoring the strength of the country’s recovery, the Federal Labor Agency said unemployment had fallen by a seasonally adjusted 65,000, bringing the jobless rate to 9.2%. Internationally comparable figures released by the Federal Statistical Office put the rate at 7.5% in February. The healthy state of Europe’s largest economy was also evidenced in figures, published separately, that showed orders of machines and plants had jumped by 27% in February from their level a year ago.
The investment boom now underway in Germany, illustrated by a 22% year-on-year rise in domestic orders, confirmed the fact that the country’s recovery was no longer being driven primarily by exports, even though foreign orders grew equally robustly. Economists have been raising their estimates for German growth this year, with forecasts ranging between 2 and 3%. The robustness of the rebound allowed the economy to absorb a three-point value-added tax rise in January, the biggest tax increase in German post-war history, with an adverse effect on growth economists said was so far consistent with a 1-point increase.
On a non-adjusted basis, the Federal Labor Agency said unemployment had dropped by 114,000 this month, twice as much as the average of the past three years. The brought the number of jobseekers to 4.1 million, or 869,000 below its level a year ago. Seasonally-adjusted employment figures, whose publication lags a month behind that of the jobless data, showed 30,000 positions were created in February. Adjusted vacancies figures, however, showed a 22,000 drop, although they remained well over last year’s level. (FT.com)