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German jobless up, Spain's down

German jobless up, Spain's down
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The number of Germans out of work rose for the ninth month running in December.

Labour Office data showed the jobless figure rose by 3,000 in seasonally-adjusted terms to 2.942 million.

That is was less than expected and the total has stabilised close to historically low levels as Europe’s largest economy remains relatively unscathed by the eurozone debt crisis.

Economists said Germany is showing signs of weakness, but should avoid recession.

The unemployment rate held steady at 6.9 percent. “Despite the economic dip, the labour market is not suffering a breakdown,” said Stefan Schilbe at HSBC Trinkaus.

“Companies are not willing to put qualified workers out of a job, also in the light of the high number of unfilled jobs. “Once the economy improves in the course of the year, unemployment too is likely to fall again with a delay,” Schilbe added.

Spain jobless falls

In Spain, the number of people out of work fell in December. It was down by 1.2 percent.

The first monthly decline since July came as the service sector hired more workers in the run-up to Christmas.

The latest data still means 4.8 million people are unemployed in the eurozone’s fourth-biggest economy.

The monthly figure records the number of Spaniards registered as out of work, and is considered less reliable than the country’s official unemployment rate.

That rate hit a record 25 percent in the third quarter to September, the highest since the Franco dictatorship ended in the 1970s.

The only comparable level in the eurozone is in Greece which, in recession for six years, recorded a monthly unemployment rate of 26 percent in September.