Thursday, September 29, 2011

Despite Slowing Economy, German Unemployment Rate Falls Yet Again to 6.9%

While all eyes in Europe were focused on the vote in the German parliament regarding the ESFS funding (yes it passed!), we continue to see astounding data on the unemployment front.  Somehow despite an economy that barely expanded in Q2, the unemployment rate (adjusted for seasonality) dropped from 7.0% to 6.9%  (6.6% not adjusted for seasonality).  While employment may be a lagging indicator and set to worsen in the coming 6-12 months, this country's economic system (and government responses) have been far better than anything we've offered stateside.   [Oct 1, 2010:  German Unemployment Rate Down to 7.2% after Peaking at 8.7%; Can We Learn Anything?]  Especially impressive considering how their currency has been strong the past 2 years.... and considering the region has been in one form of crisis or another for 18+ months.

Of course there is a lot we could learn from what they have done, not just in the past 3-4 years, but the past 10+, but to even hint anything a country in Europe does better than we do, is inviting yourself to be called a "socialist".  [Jun 16, 2009: As Euro Zone Unemployment Spikes; Job Saving Measures Emerge - Completely UnAmerican]   Much more easy to parrot bullet points about high unemployment & slow growth.

  • Unemployment in Germany fell to its lowest level in more than 20 years in September as the labor market shrugged off fears of a pending economic slowdown, official data showed Thursday.
  • The German jobless rate, which measures the proportion of people registered as unemployed against the working population as a whole, fell to 6.6 percent in September from 7.0 percent, according to raw or unadjusted figures published by the Federal Labour Agency in Nuremberg.  That was the lowest level since German unification and a much steeper fall than analysts had been expecting.
  • In concrete terms, the total number of people out of work was down by 149,000 from August to September, and down by 231,000 year-on-year to stand at 2.79 million, the agency said in a statement.  It is the first time since 1992 that the jobless total has been below 2.8 million
  • Unemployment tends to fall in September as a result of seasonal factors, such as the end of the summer holidays.  To iron out such fluctuations, the Bundesbank calculates seasonally adjusted data, and these showed the jobless total down by 26,000 over the month and the adjusted jobless rate slipping to 6.9 percent from 7.0 percent.
  • "In face of the uncertainty on the financial markets, the labor markets are having a stabilising effect on the economy as whole," Roesler said.
  • Despite leading indicators pointing to a imminent slowdown in the wake of the eurozone debt crisis, the German labour market is proving resilient, said Christian Schulz, senior economist at Berenberg Bank.  "The German jobs miracle is continuing," Schulz said.
  • "Employment is continuing to rise faster than unemployment is falling. Better still, core employment -- workers earning enough to be subject to social security contributions -- rose in July," the analyst said.
  • "And the fact that temporary workers are still high in demand proves that the labor market sees no cyclical downswing yet. Otherwise, temporary workers would be the first to be hit," Schulz said.

[Sep 13, 2011: At Some Point Germany Has to Become an Appealing Investment]
[May 13, 2011: German Economic "Miracle" Continues as 5.2% GDP Growth Blasts Past U.S.]
[Jan 13, 2011: Germany Puts Finishing Touches on Impressive 2010]
[Jan 6, 2010: China Passes Germany as World's Largest Exporter
[Jun 30, 2009: Will Germany Transform Itself? Does it Need To?]
[May 21, 2008: Who is the World's Largest Merchandise Exporter? Not China. Or the US]

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