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Unemployment dips but economists warn of coming pain

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Unemployment dips but economists warn of coming pain
Photo: DPA
10:34 CEST+02:00
Official figures released on Wednesday showed German unemployment fell to 8.0 percent of the workforce in September, but economists warned the worst is yet to come for the country's job market.

The data confounded expectations of a slight increase in the biggest European economy, with analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires forecasting a jobless rate of 8.4 percent. The unemployment rate in August was 8.3 percent.

The number of unemployed dropped 125,000 to 3.346 million in September, as government subsidies which allow firms to cut working hours has thus far prevented a flood of jobless claims. But experts warn that claims could rise in coming months.

Germany has rebounded more quickly than expected from its worst recession for more than six decades, edging back to growth in the second quarter of this year with expansion of 0.3 percent. However, many firms will no longer be able to prevent layoffs due to order decreases this autumn, according to some economists.

“Again we have very light economic growth, but that is not sufficient for a job market upswing,” Philipp Jäger from the DZ Bank said in a poll conducted by DPA ahead of the new job statistics release.

Economists polled by the news agency said the number of unemployed would likely climb up to 3.7 million by years' end.

“In February and March of 2010 the four-million mark could be exceeded,” economist Rolf Schneider from Allianz financial services firm predicted.

Meanwhile DZ Bank's Jäger said the number could exceed 4.1 million unemployed.

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