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German Jobless Rate Ticks Up

German Jobless Rate Ticks UpGerman Jobless Rate Ticks Up

Germany’s employment figures for December were better than those from the previous year, the federal jobs agency has reported. Despite a lot of uncertainty, the labor market is still very robust, it says.

During the fierce debate in 2014 over whether Germany should introduce a minimum wage, conservative free-market economists painted a dark, dramatic picture of the likely consequences, arguing that millions of low-wage jobs could be priced out of the market and destroyed, DW reported.

 But it just hasn’t happened. Two years after the minimum wage was introduced in January 2015, the nation’s employment rate continues to rise. The number of permanent job contracts has also been rising steadily, with precarious short-term zero-hours contracts in relative decline.

The latest good news on the jobs front in Germany came in an announcement on Tuesday morning by the federal employment agency: In December, 2.568 million people were registered as unemployed and taking benefits--104,000 fewer than a year before (December 2015).

The average unemployment rate over 2016 as a whole, as it is measured by the agency, declined by 0.3% compared to 2015, and was down to 6.1%—the lowest rate for 25 years.

There is always an annual decline in employment during the winter months relative to the warmer months, with fewer jobs in construction, agriculture, and other weather-affected industries during the cold season. This winter is no exception, but the decline this past December was milder than usual, with just 36,000 more people having registered for unemployment benefits in December compared with November.

 

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