German Jobless Claims Drop More Than Forecast in April

By Nina Adam Features Dow Jones Newswires

FRANKFURT-German jobless claims dropped more sharply than forecast in April and the unemployment rate stayed at a record low, cementing Germany's position as the eurozone's strongest labor market.

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Jobless claims fell by 15,000 from March, the BA labor agency said Wednesday, referring to data adjusted for seasonal swings. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected a decline of 10,000.

"The labor market continues to develop solidly," said Detlef Scheele, the BA's chairman.

Illustrating the trend, Germany's adjusted jobless rate was unchanged at 5.8% in April, the lowest rate since the beginning of the data series in January 1992, following the country's unification.

Germany's jobs market is set for another bumper year. The BA's research arm, IAB, forecasts record employment of 44.26 million people and a decline in average joblessness to 2.53 million people, which would be the lowest level since German reunification in 1990.

Unemployment in Germany is expected to drop further this year despite a strong influx of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia--many of whom are jobless, at least initially, or struggle to find longer-term employment because of a lack of skills.

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Demand for labor remained strong. The BA said that 706,000 jobs were registered as vacant in April, or 66,000 more than in the same month last year.

Write to Nina Adam at nina.adam@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 03, 2017 04:23 ET (08:23 GMT)