Germany’s unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to a record low in January, in a sign that economic sentiment in Europe’s largest economy is withstanding the tumult in global markets.
The jobless rate slid to 6.2 percent, the lowest level since German reunification, from 6.3 percent the previous month, data from the Federal Labor Agency in Nuremberg showed on Tuesday. The number of people out of work declined by a seasonally adjusted 20,000 to 2.73 million. Economists in a Bloomberg survey predicted a drop of 8,000.
The strength of Germany’s labor market augurs resilient domestic demand that should keep underpinning what Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said last week was a “good, stable situation” for the country. The economy may be shortly in for another boost as the European Central Bank considers adding to stimulus for the euro area as a whole.
“The good development of the job market has continued at the beginning of the year,” Frank-Juergen Weise, president of the labor agency, said in a statement.
Underscoring the strength of Germany’s labor market, even as the country deals with a refugees crisis that saw the influx of over 1 million migrants in 2015 alone, employment also continues to rise. The number of people with a job climbed by a seasonally-adjusted 44,000 in December, Tuesday’s report showed. Employment numbers are posted with a one-month lag.
The rise in Germany’s employment rate has been driven by a rapid rise in female participation in the workforce over the past 10 years. About 73 percent of women had a job in 2014, up 10 percentage points since 2005, data published by the German Statistics Office showed last month. Overall, with 78 percent of people aged between 20 and 64 in work, Germany is second only to Sweden’s 80 percent in the European Union.