German joblessness holds record low as election looms

Frankfurt am Main (AFP) –


Unemployment in Germany held at record lows in August, official data showed Thursday, as a general election looms in September where Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives are widely expected to win.

Joblessness in Europe's largest economy stood at 5.7 percent this month, in seasonally-adjusted figures from the Federal Labour Agency (BA).

"Strong growth in employment continues and companies' demand for new workers remains high," BA chief Detlef Scheele said.

In absolute terms, the number of people unemployed fell by 5,000 to 2.532 million in August in seasonally-adjusted terms.

Unadjusted figures -- which are less representative of underlying trends -- showed a slight rise in unemployment this month, however, adding 0.1 percentage point month-on-month to 5.7 percent.

In concrete terms, the unadjusted jobless total increased by 27,000 to 2.545 million.

The jobless count typically increases over the summer as students graduate from school, university or vocational training and register as jobseekers.

Most economists expect a run of solid economic growth in Germany to continue towards the end of the year, keeping unemployment in check.

During her reelection bid, Merkel has bet on the good times continuing, vowing to achieve full employment -- or an unemployment rate of around 3.0 percent -- by 2025.

Germans vote on September 24, with the chancellor's centre-right Christian Democratic Union enjoying a comfortable lead in opinion polls.