Record low jobless figures have persisted despite Berlin halving its economic growth forecast for 2019 a fortnight ago to just 0.5 percent. Economy minister Peter Altmaier had already almost halved the outlook in January, to 1.0 percent, as indicators of economic activity and business confidence fell.
Construction site workers in Munich, Bavaria, which has the lowest unemployment rate in Germany. Photo: DPA
Just 4.9 percent of people were out of work in April, the Federal Labour Agency (BA) said in seasonally adjusted data, matching the March level – a historic low since Germany unified nearly 30 years ago.
“As spring picks up, unemployment and underemployment plummeted again in April, employment continues to increase and business demand for new employees is at a very high level,” BA chief Detlef Scheele said in a statement.
In absolute terms, the number of people unemployed fell by 72,000 in April, to 2,229,000.
Looking to the country's different regions, the unemployment rate for the month remains lowest in the southern states of Bavaria, at 2.8 percent, and Baden-Württemberg at 3.1 percent.
In comparison, the northern city of Bremen posted the national high at 9.7 percent, while capital Berlin came in second at 7.7.
'Labour market is ray of hope'
“The labour market remains a ray of hope amid the clouded economic outlook,” said analyst Martin Mueller of public investment bank KfW.
The number of people in work “will continue to rise in the spring, albeit at a more moderate pace… this is likely to remain so over the course of the year and will probably protect the German economy from recession” by supporting domestic demand, he added.
Low levels of unemployment have helped keep consumer confidence stable in Germany, with a monthly poll from market research firm GfK released Tuesday steady overall despite growing pessimism about the economic outlook.