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German jobless count falls below 2 million

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Trainees receiving instruction at the BMW factory in Leipzig. File photo: DPA
10:34 CET+01:00
The number of people out of work in Germany fell below two million for the first time since reunification in 1990, figures released on Monday showed.

Data from the Federal Office for Statistics (Destatis) revealed that the annual average number of unemployed people fell by 6.7 percent, or 140,000 in 2015, to 1.95 million.

That meant that Germany had an overall unemployment rate of 4.3 percent, down from 4.7 percent in 2014 – or "just under half of the EU average rate", as Destatis proudly pointed out in their statement.

Rubbing it in, "this means that, again, Germany was less affected by unemployment than any other EU Member State," the statement read.

On the other side of the balance sheet, the number of people in work increased to around 43 million on average in 2015, again the highest level since German reunification.

That was an increase of 324,000 people in work – or 0.8 percent of the workforce – compared with 2014.

Services accounted for the biggest increase in employment, with 341,000 people finding new jobs in business, public service, education, health, and other fields.

Employment in industry grew slightly as well, while the number of people working in construction and agriculture fell slightly.

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2015's increase over 2014 was slightly smaller than in the previous year, but it marked a continuation in jobs growth that has lasted for over 10 years.

"Higher labour force participation of the domestic population and the immigration of foreign workers offset negative demographic effects" Destatis noted, referring to Germany's growing challenge with its aging population.

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