German unemployment hits new low
Unemployment in Germany sank in October to a new low since unification in 1990, official data showed yesterday, as Europe’s top economy surprised analysts with a robust outlook. Analysts polled by financial services group Factset had predicted the October jobless figure to come in at 6.1 percent, but an economic uptick in the autumn delivered better than expected numbers. Unemployment now stands at 6.0 percent-the lowest level since West and East Germany reunited in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall the previous year.
“Along with the autumn recovery, joblessness has dropped sharply while employment has risen again, and demand for workers is also up,” said Frank Weise, who heads the Federal Employment Agency. In absolute numbers, the number of people registered as unemployed fell by 68,000 from September to 2.54 million. The employment agency said “the economic indicators, which are currently pointing upwards, suggest that the economic development will continue.” Rising salaries and low energy costs have contributed to boosting domestic consumption and growth in Germany.
Meanwhile, German new car sales saw a sharp dip in October after two months of strong growth, official data showed yesterday. A 5.6 percent fall in registrations compared with the same month last year saw just over 262,700 new cars hit the tarmac, the KBA transport authority reported. The agency had recorded increases in August and September of 8.3 and 9.4 percent in Europe’s largest car market, boosted by increased consumption by private households.
Registrations over the whole year remain positive, with a total of 2,818,507 cars registered in Germany from January to October, an increase of 4.9 percent over the same period in 2015. October’s data saw fewer new registrations for all German carmakers. Scandal-hit Volkswagen, which in September 2015 admitted to installing emissions cheating software on 11 million cars worldwide, retained the largest share of the market at almost 19 percent for its own-branded cars. But at almost 50,000, it sold just under 20 percent fewer vehicles than in October last year. Over the whole year to October, Volkswagen sales were down by 3.0 percent, worse than the 1.0 percent fall recorded over the year to September. Luxury carmaker Porsche, a VW subsidiary, was the only other German brand to suffer a double-digit fall in sales in October, losing 13.3 percent to land at 2,276 units. Meanwhile, VWowned Audi’s sales fell 2.9 percent, Daimler-made MercedesBenz fell 3.5 percent, and BMW lost 2.4 percent. —Agencies