Germany’s Federal Labor Agency reported that unemployment in the country improved very slightly in January. Those unemployed dropped a mere 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 2.92 million. Bloomberg reported:
German unemployment unexpectedly declined in January, adding to signs that Europe’s largest economy is gathering pace.
But, according to DJ Newswire:
Germany’s resilient labor market took another hit at the start of the year, as unemployment rose above 3 million people for the first time since March 2012, data from the BA federal labor agency showed Thursday, but BA said the increase was due to seasonal effects.
January’s increase in unemployment to 3.138 million people — the highest level since March 2011 — comes as Germany’s statistics office Thursday reported a sharp drop in retail sales in December, underpinning the weakness in the euro-zone’s largest economy.
All in all, even if the interpretation is that Germany has started a labor recovery, 16,000 people hardly makes a trend, or even a positive one. Until Germany can create closer to 100,000 jobs per month, on a steady basis, analysts have the right to be skeptical about a turnaround.
Douglas A. McIntyre