GERMAN unemployment unexpectedly fell in January in seasonally adjusted terms, pushing the jobless rate down to 6.8 percent and remaining close to a post-reunification low, data showed today.
Labour Office data showed the number of people out of a job fell by 16,000 to 2.916 million, breaking a long run of increases. The consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of 27 economists had been for unemployment to rise by 8,000.
The news will be welcomed by the centre-right government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who faces an election in September that could be influenced by the state of the economy.
The unadjusted jobless total, which is closely watched in Germany, rose above the 3 million mark for the first time since March of last year, but the Labour Office said seasonal factors were behind that increase.
"The unfavourable economic backdrop has left few traces on the labour market," Labour Office chief Frank-Juergen Weise said in a statement.