German Unemployment Declines as Confidence in Economy Improves

  • Number of people out of work falls 14,000 vs est. 10,000 drop
  • Jobless rate remained at record-low 5.9 percent in February

German unemployment continued to decline in February as companies expressed confidence in the outlook for Europe’s largest economy.

The number of people out of work fell by a seasonally adjusted 14,000 to 2.59 million, data from the Federal Labor Agency in Nuremberg showed on Wednesday. Economists in a Bloomberg survey forecast a decline of 10,000. The jobless rate remained at 5.9 percent, the lowest level since reunification.

The report comes after business confidence unexpectedly improved amid a pickup in manufacturing and services activity, supporting the Bundesbank’s prediction that economic growth will strengthen in the first quarter. Prospects for employment continue to be favorable and filling open positions will become more difficult, the German central bank said in its monthly report.

“The development on the labor market continues to be positive,” Frank-Juergen Weise, president of the labor agency, said in a statement. “The number of people unemployed declined in February, employment subject to social-security payments is markedly higher than a year ago and demand of companies for new labor continues to be at a high level as well.”

Joblessness fell by about 8,000 in western Germany and by 6,000 in the eastern part of the country, the labor agency said.

— With assistance by Kristian Siedenburg, Andre Tartar, and Alessandro Speciale

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