The number of people out of work in Germany fell much more than expected in January. The official monthly report showed the jobless totals declining for the 22ndconsecutive month. It is now at its lowest level in 15 years.
The headline figure used in Germany is not adjusted for season factors, such as weather; it was 8.7% of the working population in January, up from 8.1% in December. But the seasonally adjusted figures showed a decline.
The head of the Federal Labour Agency, Frank- Juergen Weise said: “The main reason for this improvement is mostly the very robust economic situation. The weather also played a role – it was very mild in January.”
However economists noted that the jobs figures are backward looking as employers decisions on hiring and firing tend to lag behind developments in the business cycle.
And at the same time government figures were released showing German domestic consumption is not growing with people reluctant to spend. There was a decline in retail sales over the holiday period as household spending slowed down. Retail sales were 8.3% lower in December compared with the same month a year earlier.