German unemployment fell for the 11th month running in May.
The decline was much more than forecast thanks to the effects of labour reforms and as the weaker euro boosted exports.
The total – not adjusted for seasonal factors which is the figure most quoted in Germany – was down by 165,000 at 3.24 million. That is 7.7 percent of the working population, down from 8.1 percent in April.
Economists are warning there is a risk of the German economic recovery slowing in the second half of the year, but the country’s Labour Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “We’re seeing a very strong tendency. This is the second month in a row in which demand for labour is up. In other words, we are on the right track.”
The latest figures show that in April, the overall euro zone unemployment rate hit its highest level in almost 12 years, though it was limited by the German trend.
Across the euro zone 10.1 percent of the workforce was without a job, up from 10.0 percent in March.
Germany’s labour market has been helped by a big surge in exports, but a report from the Federal Statistical Office has just indicated a pick up in long-dormant domestic demand retail sales rose one percent on the month in April, although they were down 3.1 percent on the same month last year.