Germany's jobless rate has edged up to 6.6 percent in July on an expected seasonal rise as students register as unemployed, but the underlying trend in Europe's biggest economy remained positive.

The Federal Labor Agency said Thursday the unadjusted jobless rate was up from 6.5 percent in June "solely for seasonal reasons." There were 2.87 million registered unemployed in the nation of about 80 million — 39,000 more than in June, but 43,000 fewer than a year earlier.

Adjusted for seasonal factors, the jobless rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent, in line with economists' forecasts. The number of people out of work declined by a better-than-expected 12,000.

Germany's low unemployment has contrasted in recent years with jobless rates well into the double digits in countries hit by Europe's debt crisis.