Thursday, April 28, 2005

German unemployment falls, people go meh.

Germany: I don't think people will be touting these numbers as anything special.

April 28 (Bloomberg) -- German unemployment fell for the first time in 15 months as warmer weather in April led to more people taking seasonal outdoor jobs and claimants who don't qualify for jobless benefits came off the register. The number out of work in Germany, Europe's largest economy, fell by 79,000, adjusted for seasonal swings, to 4.89 million, the Nuremberg-based Federal Labor Agency said today. Economists expected the total to rise 10,000, the median of 37 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey showed. The jobless rate declined to 11.8 percent from 12 percent, a post-World War II record, in March. ``I don't see that the underlying trends have changed'' in today's unemployment figures, said Juergen Michels, an economist at Citigroup Global Markets in London. ``We only see a correction of earlier distortions to the upside. We're still far away from a trend change in the labor market.''
Wait, someone is touting the numbers, not that anyone believes him.
"The labor agency said April's decline was helped by the fact that new applications for jobless benefits under the reformed system _ aimed at encouraging the long-term unemployed to find work and ultimately reducing unemployment figures _ tailed off. "The job market is on its way to recovery," Economics and Labor Minister Wolfgang Clement said. "I said at the beginning of this month that unemployment would fall below the 5 million mark this spring and not exceed it again, and I am pleased ... that this has already happened." However, the head of Germany's Ifo economic think tank cautioned that the improvement was purely seasonal and "has nothing to do a longer-term development." The numbers will keep dropping until September and "then they will go up again," Hans-Werner Sinn told ZDF television."

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