German unemployment continues to rise, it was up for the fourth straight month in February and economists say that trend will continue as the country’s exports slump and business investment declines.The headline unadjusted figure – which is more commonly used in Germany – was just over 3.5 million. The total when adjusted for seasonal factors like weather was 3.3 million. The head of the Federal Labour Office, Frank-Jürgen Weise, said: “Unemployment is up across the board and there was less demand for workers. Right now, the jobless totals are only being held in check by short-time working.” The unemployment rate increased to 8.5 percent of the working population from 8.3 percent in January. The former communist east of the country has a rate of 14 percent, twice the level in the west. One reason for February’s rise was bitter winter weather which prevented construction work taking place. The jobless total would be higher but for companies putting workers on shorter shifts to avoid mass lay-offs. The Labour Office said there were 200,000 ‘short-time’ workers registered in December. But it added companies are in the process of putting another 600,000 people on short time.