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Economy in Brief

German Labor Markets Show More Distinct Gain
by Carol Stone November 2, 2006

German labor market data for September and October were reported today. We last checked in with these data at the end of June. The most notable factor then was an increase in job vacancies, and we wondered if they would translate into actual jobs. This may have happened -- at least to some extent.

Total employment in September was 39.17 million, up 24,000 from August and 334,000 or 0.9% from September 2005. It has risen for seven consecutive months (seasonally adjusted), and marks the longest such span since 1999/2000.

Moreover, the number of job vacancies has continued to rise. In October employers reported opportunities for 662,000 workers, and increase of 45,000 from September and 179,000 from a year ago. This increase in vacancies, when filled, would add about 0.5% to total employment.

The unemployment situation is mixed and depends on what measure one looks at. The harmonized "ILO" unemployment rate was 8.3% in September, steady with August, but up from a recent low of 7.9% in April. Germans prefer their own measure of "registered" unemployment rate, and it has declined, dipping to 10.4% in October, the lowest since April 2004. Among labor force groups, all sectors of the population have seen some year-on-year improvement in recent months (the individual categories are not seasonally adjusted, necessitating comparisons with like periods of prior years) and the rate for men in particular has reached down to 9.1%, the lowest since October 2001. Thus, job opportunities are increasing in Germany, and with a record number of vacancies shown in this report, that may yield more workers in the months ahead.

Germany: Seas Adj, ex as noted Oct 2006 Sept 2006 Aug 2006 Year Ago 2005 2004 2003
LFS Employment (mil) -- 39.17 39.14 38.84 38.82 38.87 38.72
Change (thous) -- +24 +34 +334 -53 +150 -370
Yr/Yr % Chg NSA -- -- -- +0.9 -0.1 +0.4 -0.9
Unemployment Rate (%, ILO Def.) -- 8.3 8.3 8.0 7.1 9.1 9.2
Registered Unemployment Rate (%) 10.4 10.6 10.6 11.6 11.7 10.6 10.5
Job Vacancies (thous) 662 617 589 483 488 278 318
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