German unemployment rate steady at 6.5 percent
BERLIN (AP) — The number of unemployed people in Germany dropped only slightly in October over the previous month, leaving the overall jobless rate unchanged at 6.5 percent, official data showed Tuesday.
Some 2.753 million people were out of work in October, down 35,000 from September, the Federal Labor Agency said. When adjusted for seasonal factors, however, the number of jobless rose 20,000 for an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent — the same as September's rate.
Germany's export-driven economy is in relatively good shape compared with the rest of the European Union nations, several of which are in recession.
But the financial crisis is beginning to take its toll. The Economy Ministry this month cut its growth forecast for 2013 to 1 percent from 1.6 percent, though it increased this year's outlook slightly from 0.7 percent to 0.8 percent.
"The weaker economic developments are making themselves noticeable on the labor market," said Labor Agency head Frank Weise. "But overall the labor market remains robust and in good shape."
Still, economist Carsten Brzeski of ING in Brussels said the numbers portend possible problems down the road for Europe's largest economy.
"It is doubtful whether private consumption can really take over the baton as main growth driver for the German economy," he said in a research note.
"Today's numbers provide further evidence that the labor market is gradually losing steam, indicating the cushioning impact on the economy should peter out in the coming months," said Brzeski, adding however that the slowdown should be "a very gentle one."
Compared with October last year, the number of jobless this month was 16,000 higher.