Originally created 09/03/04

German jobless rate remains unchanged at 10.5 percent

BERLIN -- Germany's unemployment remained at 10.5 percent in August, unchanged from the previous month as the number of unemployed fell slightly, the German Labor Agency reported Thursday.

The number of unemployed people fell 13,400 to 4.3465 million from the July level. The number of unemployed was 30,900 higher than August 2003.

While Germany is slowly emerging from three years of near-zero growth, its jobless rate has remained persistently high.

Labor Agency chief Frank J. Weise said that the economy is developing positively, but that it has not yet translated to more jobs.

Economics and Labor Minister Wolfgang Clement said he expects the job market to pick up in September and October.

"The economic recovery hasn't yet improved the employment situation," Clement told reporters in Berlin

Weise attributed the slight drop in unemployment to companies hiring more people as students began to go back to school, although the drop was not as pronounced as the same time last year.

Seasonally-adjusted unemployment figures -- which remove the effects of events that follow a more or less regular pattern each year -- indicated an increase of 24,000 unemployed in August.

Western Germany reported an unemployment rate of 8.4 percent, with some 2.764 million people were out of work. In the former east, the rate was more than double at 18.3 percent with 1.582 million jobless.


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