German unemployment fell slightly in October, dropping to its lowest level in 18 years.
The headline figure used by government and the media in Germany – which is the total not adjusted for seasonal factors – fell below the politically important three million mark.
The head of Federal Labour Agency, Frank-Jürgen Weise, credited strong growth in Europe’s biggest economy.
He said that should continue: “If the job market develops as expected we will see a couple of month with unemployment below three million.”
Adjusted for season factors, the total number of Germans out of work is 3.15 million, but that is still a dramatic improvement on early 2006 when it hit five million.
From 11.5 percent of the working population five years ago it is now 7.5 percent.
That is still not enough for some; prompted by the figures a group called the Social Market Economy Initiative demonstrated in Berlin for the German government to work towards full employment – that is less than two million jobless.
Asked about that Frank-Jürgen Weise of the Federal Labour Agency speculated it might be achieved by 2020.
And the drop in unemployment has even led to concerns about shortages of skilled workers in some key sectors of the economy.