Job seekers wait to be interviewed inside the employment center at the Six Flags Entertainment Corp. Great Adventure amusement park in Jackson, New Jersey, U.S. (Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg)  

German Unemployment Falls Despite Mounting Risks to Economy

(Bloomberg) -- German unemployment fell to a record low, extending its five-year decline, as companies signaled confidence in Europe’s largest economy.

Joblessness decreased by a seasonally adjusted 14,000 in December to 2.26 million, more than economists predicted, supporting the Bundesbank’s outlook that growth momentum remains strong despite growing threats of protectionism and a disorderly Brexit. The jobless rate remained at 5 percent.

German Unemployment Falls Despite Mounting Risks to Economy

Key Insights

  • “The labor market continued to develop well, even though the economic upswing has lost some momentum,” said labor-agency head Detlef Scheele. “Companies’ demand for new workers remains at a very high level.”
  • The report suggests that domestic demand will support economic growth and that a contraction in the third quarter was a temporary setback caused by a decline in car production in response to new emissions tests.
  • Germany’s Bundesbank says the unemployment rate could fall to 4.5 percent by 2020 and remain on a downward trajectory thereafter. Still, the central bank noted signs of labor shortages, which companies say is dampening growth prospects.
  • Unemployment dropped by 9,000 in west Germany and by 5,000 in the eastern part

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  • Manufacturing gauges across the world’s largest economies stumbled in December as orders and hiring weakened. The euro area was no exception, with factory activity dropping to the lowest in almost three years.
  • Euro-area inflation data are due to be published later this morning. A decline would add to signs that the 19-nation economy faces a protracted slowdown and reinforce market expectations that the ECB won’t be able to raise interest rates this year.

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