Photographer: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

German Unemployment Falls to Record Low as Economy Gathers Pace

  • Jobless rate drops to record low of 5.9 percent in January
  • Number of unemployed down 26,000 vs. estimated 5,000 decline

German unemployment fell to a record low in January in a sign that Europe’s largest economy is gathering momentum.

The jobless rate declined to 5.9 percent, the lowest level since reunification, as the number of people out of work slid by a seasonally adjusted 26,000 to 2.61 million, data from the Federal Labor Agency in Nuremberg showed on Tuesday. Economists in a Bloomberg survey had forecast the rate would remain unchanged at 6 percent and the number of unemployed would fall by 5,000.

The German economy expanded by about half a percent in the fourth quarter, with the Bundesbank seeing signs that job creation should continue. Strengthening momentum in the core of Europe bodes well for the recovery in the euro area, where joblessness remains elevated and energy-price gains push up inflation.

The number of people out of work fell by about 15,000 in western Germany and by 10,000 in the eastern part of the country, the labor agency said.

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