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Jobs

German unemployment rises above 3-million mark

Germany's jobless total has risen over the past four weeks in unadjusted terms, crashing through the psychologically important barrier of 3 million people seeking work. Seasonal factors helped explain the surge.

For the first time in almost two years, the number of unemployed people in Germany rose above 3 million in January, the Nuremberg-based Federal Employment Agency (BA) announced on Thursday.

In unadjusted terms, joblessness rose to 7.4 percent, with 3.138 million people out of work, an increase of 54,000 people year-on-year.

BA chief Frank-Jürgen Weise attributed the increase to foreseeable seasonal factors, indicating the latest figures were not particularly alarming to him. "The unfavorable economic backdrop has left few traces on the domestic labor market," Weise said.

Different approaches

Foreign news agencies such as Reuters generally highlighted the far more favorable seasonally adjusted figures concerning German unemployment.

In these terms, German joblessness fell in January to 6.8 percent or 2.916 million people, 16,000 fewer month-on-month.

Seen in such a light, the latest data could even provide a boost to the country's center-right coalition government of Chancellor Angela Merkel. It faces a general election in September of this year which looks bound to be co-determined by economic policies.

hg/msh (Reuters, AFP, dpa)