German Unemployment Slides Again in Sign Companies Stay Upbeat

(Bloomberg) -- German unemployment fell for the 12th consecutive month in June, suggesting that companies in Europe’s largest economy are relatively optimistic that the current slowdown won’t worsen.

The number of people out of work declined by a seasonally adjusted 15,000 to 2.342 million, the Federal Labor Agency in Nuremberg said on Friday. Economists in a Bloomberg survey had predicted a drop of 8,000. The jobless rate held at a record low of 5.2 percent.

German Unemployment Slides Again in Sign Companies Stay Upbeat

Germany’s export-oriented economy has benefited from a global upswing as well as improving euro-zone demand on the back of European Central Bank stimulus, though the outlook has become more clouded. German and euro-area data since the start of 2018 have shown worsening confidence and weaker manufacturing growth, the ECB is planning to pare back its monetary support, and the U.S. is pushing ahead with protectionist trade measures.

Friday’s report showed that softer sentiment hasn’t translated to lower hiring. Joblessness fell by about 11,000 in west Germany and by 4,000 in the eastern part of the country.

The Bundesbank recently cut its forecast for Germany’s expansion this year, but added that it still sees an “ongoing economic boom.” It expects the tight labor market to lift wages, which should support domestic consumption.

Euro-area unemployment data to be published on Monday are forecast to show the rate held at 8.5 percent in May, the lowest in more than nine years.

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