German Unemployment Rose for a Fifth Month (Update)
German March unemployment rose 69K. This was higher than our median of 50K and February was revised up to show a rise of 50K, versus 40K reported initially. The jobless rate rose to 8.1% in March from a revised 8.0% (previously 7.9%) in February. The marked contraction in economic activity is clearly leaving its mark and will continue to push up unemployment in coming months. So far there are no signs of real sharp scale job cuts, which may be due to the fact that companies are making use of extended facilities to put workers on shorter working ours. However, Bundesbank president Weber warned yesterday that companies seem to be hoarding labor and that the labor market could face a nasty shock if growth turns out to the weaker for a more prolonged time than currently expected. The ailing labor market will continue to keep a lid on consumption trends this year.
Meanwhile, German February ILO unemployment rose to 7.4% from 7.3% in January. This was in line with our forecast and developments in the national rate that month. The focus is on the release of national unemployment data for March shortly before 8GMT, which is expected to show a renewed rise in the seasonally adjusted jobless total of 30K (median 50K), after 40K in February. This should bring the jobless rate up to 8.0% from 7.9%. Bundesbank president Weber warned yesterday that companies seem to be hoarding labor and that the labor market could face a nasty shock if growth turns out to the weaker for a more prolonged time than currently expected.
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