March 29, 2012 / 8:24 AM / 7 years ago

Instant View - German jobless rate falls to new low in March

BERLIN (Reuters) - German unemployment dropped for a fifth consecutive month in March with the jobless rate sliding to 6.7 percent, marking a new record low since figures for unified Germany were first published, the Labour Office said on Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted data showed a stronger-than-expected decrease of 18,000 from the previous month to a total of 2.841 million. The consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of 35 economists was for joblessness to drop by 10,000.

*************************************************************** KEY DATA

MAR 12 FEB 12 MAR 11

Change (adj) -18,000 -3,000 -44,000

Number (adj) 2.841 mln 2.859 mln 3.016 mln

Rate (adj) 6.7 pct 6.8 pct 7.2 pct

Change (unadj) -81,990 +25,717 -102,383

Number (unadj) 3.028 mln 3.110 mln 3.210 mln

Rate (unadj) 7.2 pct 7.4 pct 7.6 pct

CARSTEN BRZESKI, ING

“The German labour remains rather resilient to the soft patch of the economy at the end of last year. The mild March weather and almost unshattered business optimism seem be the most important drivers behind today’s drop in unemployment. The resilience of the German labour market bodes well for private consumption in the first half of the year.

“Even if the soft patch has not (yet) reached the labour market, the economic tailwind from the last two years is clearly fading away. Looking ahead, the labour market should soon enter a period of stabilisation but not stagnation. Recruitment plans have become a bit more cautious but are still positive. Moreover, the vacancy index, BA-X, is still close to its all-time high from January and anecdotal evidence of a lack of qualified workers is increasing. However, as the business cycle impact is weakening, structural measures would be required to bring unemployment further down significantly.”

ECKART TUCHTFELD, COMMERZBANK

“We are seeing a further decline in joblessness which shows that the underlying economic trend is intact. The labour market still looks robust. But you also see that the improvement is not so dynamic. That is due to weak German growth in the winter half. The outlook for the coming months should, however, remain favourable.”

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Reporting by Berlin Bureau

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