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German unemployment down to 7.0 percent

May 2, 2012
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BERLIN—Germany's unemployment rate fell to 7.0 percent last month with less than 3 million registered as jobless -- the best April value in 20 years, official figures showed Thursday.

Germany's labor agency says the country's unemployment rate slipped from 7.2 percent in March thanks to the continuing traditional springtime upturn and the country's robust economy.

A total of 2.96 million people were registered as unemployed in Europe's biggest economy, 65,000 fewer than in March and 115,000 fewer than a year ago, it said.

The April unemployment rate last fell under the psychologically important barrier of 3 million in 1992, when 2.94 million were jobless as the country experienced strong growth two years after its reunification with formerly communist East Germany.

In March, the most recent data available, a total of 41.2 million were registered as employed, up by 600,000 on the year, it said.

Germany has led the 17-nation eurozone with two years of strong economic growth, though it's expected to grow by less than 1 percent this year after expanding by 3 percent in 2011.

The labor market is in good shape -- a contrast with countries badly hit by the eurozone debt crisis. Unemployment rates in Spain and Greece are above 20 percent.

In seasonally adjusted terms, German unemployment rose slightly in April, with 19,000 people additionally registering as jobless.

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