German unemployment drops to 20-year low, defying crisis

February 1, 2012 11:02 am 

BERLIN, Feb. 1 — German unemployment reached a new record low in January, adding to signs that Europe's biggest economy is still keeping distance with the debt crisis shaking much of the eurozone and will return to growth this spring, official data showed Tuesday.

The German economy ministry reported that the country's seasonally-adjusted jobless queues shrank 34,000 to 2.285 million this month, pushing the unemployment rate down to 6.7 percent from 6.8 percent in December, a record low since its unification 20 years ago.

"The labor market is showing no sign of falling into hibernation, while actually it remains very robust," Economy Minister Philipp Roesler said, after releasing the data.

Labour Office chief Frank-Juergen Weise said the prosperity in the labor market is built on the achievements last year, when the German economy withstood the storm of eurozone debt crisis and posted a solid growth of 3.0 percent, powered by high-end industries like automotive and electronics, surging exports and strong domestic demands.

Experts said that the German economy has jumped into "a virtuous circle" –with stable economic outlook, German companies are willing to hire more people.

In return, a vigorous labor market and increasing wages are sustaining private consumption and domestic markets, compensating part of losses in overseas sales due to the debt crisis and a global slowdown.

Although the German economy is likely to contract 0.5 percent in the last quarter of 2011, according to preliminary calculation, Roesler and many economists believed that the country would rebound fast this year.

Also on Tuesday, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said the joblessness among the 17-nation eurozone has climbed to 10.4 percent in December, the eighth monthly gain, hitting the highest level since the launch of the euro 13 years ago. (PNA/Xinhua)

LDV/ebp

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