German unemployment rises to 6.8 percent in July

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Associated Press

Posted on July 31, 2013 at 4:03 AM

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's unemployment rate rose to 6.8 percent in July due to seasonal factors such as the start of the summer holiday period, but the labor market in Europe's biggest economy remained solid, official data showed Wednesday.

The unadjusted jobless rate was up from 6.6 percent in June, with 2.914 million people registered as unemployed. That was an increase of 49,000 compared with the previous month, and 38,000 more than a year earlier, the Federal Labor Agency said.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the jobless rate was steady at 6.8 percent for the third consecutive month, while the number of people out of work declined by 7,000. Summer vacations typically swell the unadjusted number — the politically significant headline rate in Germany — as students register as unemployed.

Germany's healthy labor market remains an asset to Chancellor Angela Merkel as she seeks a third term in Sept. 22 parliamentary elections. Unemployment in Germany is far lower than in many other European countries. Spain and Greece, for example, have unemployment rates above 25 percent.

"In the second quarter, all indications suggest that the German economy grew more strongly," labor agency chief Frank-Juergen Weise said. "The labor market is also benefiting from that."

Germany's central bank recently said that data indicate the economy accelerated significantly in the April-June quarter following a weak start to the year. It didn't give a specific number; official growth data for the quarter are due Aug. 14.

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