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German Unemployment Declines Unexpectedly In December

German Unemployment 010714

German unemployment dropped unexpectedly in December, marking the first fall in five months, as firms sought to increase staff levels buoyed by the continued recovery of the Eurozone economy and improving domestic demand conditions.

The number of unemployed persons fell by a seasonally adjusted 15,000 in December to 2.965 million, the latest data published by the Federal Labor Agency revealed Tuesday, while expectations were for no change.

This was the first decline in the jobless total since August. In November, unemployment rose by 9,000.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in December, unchanged from November. The outcome was also in line with expectations.

Available data showed continued increase in the number of employed persons. Employment rose by 23,000 in November from a month earlier, the labor agency said.

On an unadjusted basis, the jobless claims rose by 67,000 in December to total 2.87 million. The unemployment rate climbed to 6.7 percent from 6.5 percent.

The jobless rate for the whole of 2013 dropped to 6.9 percent from 6.8 percent in 2012. The number of jobless rose by 53,000 from 2012 to 2.95 million.

Data released by the Federal Statistical Office showed today that the number of persons in employment amounted to 40.77 million in November. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.2 percent in December, according to the statistical office.

Optimism among German businesses surged to its highest level in twenty months in December, a survey by the Ifo Institute showed last month.

Favorable labor market situation and rising incomes continued to foster German consumer sentiment, according to market research group GfK. Confidence among households is set to rise to its highest level in more than six years in January, GfK said in its most recent survey.

Provisional data from Destatis revealed Tuesday that Germany's retail sales expanded by seasonally adjusted 1.5 percent month-on-month in November, after falling for two straight months.

Germany's Bundesbank said last month that it expects Europe's largest economy to expand "strongly" over the coming months, helped by a rebound in manufacturing. The central bank forecasts the gross domestic product to grow 0.5 percent this year and 1.7 percent in 2014.

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