Germany continues to buck the European trend for unemployment.
In contrast to alarming levels of joblessness in many European states, the region’s largest economy, saw another big fall in unemployment in December.
New figures show the number of people employed in Germany rose by 1.3 percent last year compared with 2010, surpassing the 41 million mark for the first time.
German Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen said: “If you look at the entire year, unemployment has reached the lowest level in 2011 since reunification in 1990/91. The figures also show that the number of people who are in special employment training programmes is at the lowest level since records of this kind began in 1999.”
Last year the number of Germans out of work fell by 263,000 to 2.97 million for an annual jobless rate of 7.1 percent of the working population.
However, employment trends lag behind changes in growth and the outlook for Germany is darkening.
Economists say the deepening euro zone debt crisis and a global slowdown will hit exports and consumer and investor confidence with last year’s three percent growth slowing to a low as 0.5 percent this year.