German employment still strong

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German employment still strong

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The number of Germans out of work fell in February, increasing hopes that domestic demand will help support growth in Europe’s largest economy.

In figures adjusted for seasonal factors – like bad weather – the jobless fell for the third month in a row. It was down by 3,000 to just over 2.9 million.

The unemployment rate held steady at 6.9 percent of the workforce, just above the post-reunification low of 6.8 percent.

“Germany’s labour market remains solid as a rock, defying the winter weather and the euro crisis,” said Carsten Brzeski, senior economist at ING.

It is good news for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who faces an election in September that could be influenced by the state of the economy.

The government is hoping that the stable employment situation will boost private consumption this year to help offset weakness in euro zone trading partners. Germany exports some 40 percent of its goods to fellow members of the currency bloc.

The unadjusted jobless total remained above the three million mark which it breached in January.

The unadjusted figure, which is more widely reported in Germany, is a politically important threshold there.