Unemployment in Germany was up in May. It increased by the most in over five years, but the government blamed mild winter weather for the unexpectedly weak figures.
The head of the Federal Employment Agency explained that employers in weather-sensitive sectors like construction had not laid off workers early in the year, so the traditional spring bounce back in hiring failed to materialise.
Frank-Jürgen Weise told reporters: “There was less of a spring recovery in May and because of the mild winter the labour market was already in good shape, therefore there was not so much of a pick up.”
Adjusted for seasonal factors like weather, the number of people out of work in Germany increased by 24,000 to 2.905 million.
But unadjusted – which is the headline figure used in Germany – the jobless total was down by 55,000 on what analysts called a positive trend.
Europe’s largest economy grew by a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent in the first quarter of 2014, its strongest performance in three years. The rise was fuelled by private consumption, construction spending and inventories. Trade, the traditional driver of the German economy, was a drag on growth.
The unemployment rate held steady at 6.7 percent of the workforce in May on a seasonally adjusted basis. That compares with an 11.8 percent average for the 18 countries that make up the eurozone.