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German January Unemployment Rate At Record Low

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Germany's unemployment rate declined to a record low at the start of the year, reflecting an improvement in the labor market after the euro area's biggest economy expanded the most in three years during 2014.

The jobless rate dropped to a seasonally adjusted 6.5 percent in January from a revised 6.6 percent in December, the Federal Labor Agency reported Thursday. That was in line with economists' forecast.

The number of people out of work decreased by 9,000 in January to 2.836 million. It was forecast to fall by 10,000.

According to Destatis data, the German jobless rate fell slightly to an adjusted 4.8 percent in December from 4.9 percent in the prior month. On an unadjusted basis, the unemployment rate declined to 4.5 percent from 5 percent a month ago.

There were 1.91 million unemployed in December, representing a decrease of 137,000, or 6.4 percent from last year.

The Eurozone unemployment data for December is due on January 30. The jobless rate is expected to remain unchanged at double-digit 11.5 percent.

Results of the Purchasing Managers' survey showed that German private sector activity improved in January on higher demand. The labor market strengthened further with employment rising for the fifteenth consecutive month, it said.

The government yesterday raised its economic growth estimate for 2015 to 1.5 percent from 1.3 percent. The number of employed is expected to reach a record 42.8 million this year.

The growth in the largest euro area economy accelerated to 1.5 percent in 2014 from a meager 0.1 percent in 2013.

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