Germany’s jobless rate edged higher last month when adjusted for seasonal factors – such as weather.
But the seasonally-unadjusted data showed that unemployment fell in April.
Economists said the recent months’ steep falls in unemployment in Germany’s export-driven economy look unlikely to resume and joblessness should stagnate for the rest of the year.
Seasonally-adjusted figures from the Federal Labour Office showed unemployment rose unexpectedly in April by 19,000 to a total of 2.875 million.
Seasonally-unadjusted data showed that unemployment fell to 2.963 million in April from 3.0 million in March. As a percentage, unemployment remained unchanged at 6.8 percent last month from an upwardly revised 6.8 percent for March.
“This is a negative surprise. Economic weakness seems to be taking a toll after all. That is not unusual, as it usually takes about half a year for it to reach the labour market,” said Heinrich Bayer at Postbank.
“The labour market is not escaping the weak economic situation we saw over the winter,” he said.
Germany’s economy bounced back from the 2008/09 financial crisis but shrank by 0.2 percent at the end of last year as the eurozone’s debt troubles and a global slowdown choked exports and private consumption.
Many economists expect it stagnated in the first quarter, just avoiding the two quarters of contraction which define a recession.
“With high employment, the labour market should remain an important growth driver in the first half of the year. However, the signs of a slowdown are hard to miss,” said Carsten Brzeski at ING.
“The economic tailwind from the last two years is clearly fading away.”