Germany’s latest unemployment figures make for much more pleasant reading than had been expected.
Economists had forecast that 20,000 more people would be out of work in October; in fact 26,000 fewer people were unemployed compared to the previous month. That’s the fourth monthly fall in a row. The German jobless rate is now 7.7 percent, its lowest since December 2008. The head of the Federal Labour Agency, Frank-Jürgen Weise, explained that “behind the figures were clear reductions in manufacturing and in short-term contracts. Here, 350,000 jobs have been lost since last year. At the same time employment is growing in the health, social services and education sectors but these were mostly part-time jobs.” The news may be good but the German job market is not in the clear yet; a 33 percent drop in engineering orders shows the challenges the industrial sector faces going into next year. Analysts are predicting jobless numbers will rise in 2010.