German jobless figures rose in December, reversing a trend going back three years. Unemployment was up by a bigger-than-expected 18,000 in seasonally adjusted terms. The figures showed that the global credit crisis and recession are hitting the labour market in Europe’s largest economy.
The totals – not adjusted for seasonal factors which is the more commonly quoted headline figure in Germany – are for 3.1 million people out of work and claiming benefits in December, that is 7.4 percent of the workforce.
The German Employment Minister Olaf Scholz said the government is doing all it can: “It is important in this situation that we help prevent people from losing their jobs. We want to support businesses, namely by promoting means of, and possibilities for, short term work.”
The German economy went into recession in the third quarter of last year and is widely expected to shrink this year. The German Institute of Economic Research has predicted a rise in unemployed of 450,000 people annually this year and next.