German unemployment slips to 6.8 percent as springtime hiring bolsters robust economy

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Germany's unemployment rate edged down to 6.8 percent in March as a traditional springtime uptick in hiring bolstered an already robust labor market in Europe's biggest economy.

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The Federal Labor Agency said Tuesday that the unadjusted jobless rate was down from 6.9 percent in February. Some 2.93 million Germans were registered as unemployed — 85,000 fewer than the previous month and down 123,000 from a year earlier.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the unemployment rate slipped to 6.4 percent from 6.5 percent in February. Economists had expected it to remain unchanged.

Last week, a closely watched survey showed German business confidence increasing for the fifth consecutive month amid solid domestic demand and prospects of a weaker euro helping Germany's strong export sector.