The latest German unemployment total shows a drop in the number of people out of the work. And the figure would have been lower but for a change in the way the statistics are worked out. The total which is most commonly quoted in Germany – that is not adjusted for seasonal factors – fell in September to just over 4.8 million, that is 11.2% of the working population.
Unemployment has come down since hitting a post-war high of over five million earlier this year. Economy Minister Wolfgang Clement said the latest data does show a gradual improvement in the labour market. He commented: “The pick-up will continue, I have said for some time that we will manage a trend reversal, but we have for a long time not been good enough.” However major Germany companies continue to lay off staff.
DaimlerChrysler has been releasing details of thousands of job cuts at Mercedes. One worker at the firm’s Bremen plant said: “This is what happens when they invest more money on new machinery, there’s higher output and fewer people.” Another employee thought that Mercedes would get enough takers for the voluntary redundancy offers. He said “If the payments are made attractive enough, some workers will take the money. DaimlerChrysler said over the next year it wants to reduce the number of workers at Stuttgart by 1.100, Bremen will lose 2,700 and the Sindelfingen plant will be hardest hit with 3,100 cuts.
The total of 8,500 employees is about 9% of the Mercedes workforce of 94,000 in Germany.