BERLIN Feb 19 German employment is at its
highest level since reunification more than 20 years ago, the
Statistics Office said on Tuesday, boosting hopes that domestic
demand will offset weaker exports in Europe's largest economy.
Some 41.9 million people were employed in Germany in the
fourth quarter of 2012 - the highest level in any quarter since
East and West Germany reunified in October 1990, according to
preliminary estimates from the Statistics Office.
Germany's population has risen in those years, but not
The employment picture contrasts sharply with the situation
in some of Germany's struggling euro zone peers like Greece and
Spain, where around one in four people are unemployed.
Staffing levels climbed by 0.8 percent on the year in the
fourth quarter even though the economy contracted by 0.6
percent. Around three-quarters of the increase in employment was
due to service providers taking on new employees.
But employment growth slowed compared with the first, second
and third quarters of 2012, when staffing levels increased by
1.4 percent, 1.2 percent and 1.1 percent respectively.
The rise in employment should nonetheless increase private
consumption at home, which is expected to be a key pillar of
growth for Europe's economic powerhouse this year as the euro
zone crisis weakens demand for German products in neighbouring
Market research group GfK said earlier on Tuesday private
consumption in Germany would rise by 1 percent after inflation
High levels of employment are also fuelling demands for
robust wage hikes, with unions calling for rises of up to 6.6
percent this year.
The latest data from Germany's Federal Labour Office showed
seasonally adjusted unemployment fell by 16,000 in January,
breaking a long run of increases to take the jobless rate down
to 6.8 percent, not far from a post-reunification low.
Unemployment data for February is due to be published on