Joblessness edges lower
Published on: 01 Mar 2011 15:16 CET
When adjusted for seasonal effects, the standard used by economists for comparisons, the number of unemployed dropped by 52,000 to 7.3 percent of the workforce, the Ministry of Labour said in a statement.
That is the lowest rate since 1991, just after east and west Germany were reunited, IHS Global Economics economist Timo Klein noted.
It was also much better than a revised decline of 18,000 in January and analyst forecasts for a drop of 15,000, as compiled by Dow Jones Newswires.
In January, the adjusted unemployment rate stood at 7.4 percent.
On an unadjusted basis, which serves as the basis for public debate, the rate eased to 7.9 percent in February from a revised 8.0 percent the previous month.
The unadjusted number of people out of work declined by 33,000 to 3.3 million, the labour office added.
"The labour market remains the show case of the German recovery," ING senior economist Carsten Brzeski said.
"The unemployment rate has been dropping for almost two years and, for more than a year, employment is growing," he added.
Minister of Economics Rainer Brüderle hailed the results as well, noting that "the number of unemployed has fallen back with surprising strength."
The adjusted rate could well fall below 7.0 percent this year, Brzeski said, owing to global demand for German goods and the positive effects of an ageing workforce.
Milder weather allowed construction activity to bounce back in February.
"With order books very well filled at the beginning of the year, German manufacturers also have record-high investment and employment plans," UniCredit economist Alexander Koch said.
Klein said that "labour market flexibility has enabled companies to respond to the upturn in global demand since mid-2009 quite rapidly, unlike in countries where more staff had to be hired anew from scratch."