German unemployment fell to its lowest level since unification in September as the labor markets shrugged off fears of a pending economic slowdown, official data showed Thursday.
The German jobless rate, which measures the proportion of people registered as unemployed against the working population as a whole, fell to 6.6 percent in September from 7.0 percent, according to raw or unadjusted figures published by the Federal Labor Agency in Nuremberg.
The total number of people out of work was down by 149,000 from August to September, and down by 231,000 year-on-year to stand at 2.79 million, the agency said in a statement.
Unemployment tends to fall in the autumn as a result of seasonal factors, such as the end of the summer holidays.
The Bundesbank calculates seasonally adjusted data, and these showed the jobless total down by 26,000 over the month and the adjusted jobless rate slipping to 6.9 percent from 7.0 percent.
“The situation on the labor market continued to improve in September. Demand for labor remains high,” said labor agency chief Frank Weise.
Unemployment is regarded as a lagging indicator, as companies usually need time to adjust their workforce to upturns or downturns in the economy.
Nevertheless, despite leading indicators pointing to a imminent downturn in the wake of the eurozone debt crisis, the German labor market remains robust, said Christian Schulz, senior economist at Berenberg Bank.
“The German jobs miracle is continuing,” Schulz said.
“Employment is continuing to rise faster than unemployment is falling. Better still, core employment − workers earning enough to be subject to social security contributions − rose in July,” the analyst said.
“And the fact that temporary workers are still high in demand proves that the labor market sees no cyclical downswing yet. Otherwise, temporary workers would be the first to be hit,” Schulz said.