The last set of German jobless figures before the general election there later this month bring little joy for the country’s politicians.
In August the headline figure – which is most often quoted in Germany – showed a rise of 9,000 though the total adjusted for seasonal factors did fall by 1,000. The head of the Federal Employment Agency, Frank-Jürgen Weise, was pessimistic, saying: “There will be more lay-offs. That’s why we expect unemployment figures to rise in autumn.” The seasonally adjusted figure was lower mainly due to government schemes to subsidise part-time working. Employment Minister Olaf Scholz said: “By promoting short-time work programmes we made sure that many employees kept their jobs and that unemployment once again only rose slightly.” But economists said a spike in unemployment is looming as firms find it too expensive to keep staff, even with the help of government subsidises on pay and benefits when people move from regular to shorter working hours. There are now 1.43 million Germans registered with those programmes and the total rose by 300,000 in three months.