German unemployment surges in April as coronavirus outbreak takes toll

BERLIN (Reuters) - The number of people out of work in Germany increased by 373,000 to 2.639 million in April as the coronavirus outbreak began to bite, data from the Labour Office showed on Thursday, and the unemployment rate increased to 5.8%.

The jobless rate had stood at 5.0% in seasonally adjusted terms in March.

The Labour Office said 751,000 requests for short-time work for a total of 10.1 million people were made in March and until April 26. It said that did not mean all of those people would actually end up on the short-time work scheme.

For comparison, in the crisis year of 2009, applications for short-time scheme were made for 3.3 million people, the Labour Office said.

Short-time work is a form of state aid that allows employers to switch employees to shorter working hours during an economic downturn to keep them on the payroll.

Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Paul Carrel