German unemployment rises in December as seasonal factors weigh on jobs market

BERLIN – The winter lull pushed Germany’s unemployment rate up 0.2 percentage points to 6.7 per cent in December.

Figures released by the Federal Labor Office on Tuesday showed that 67,000 more people were out of work last month in Europe’s largest economy. That took the total up to 2.87 million.

Analysts had expected the increase, as many contracts expire and construction activity drops in December.

When adjusted for seasonal factors, 15,000 fewer people were out of work and the rate remained unchanged at 6.9 per cent for the fourth month in a row.

Varengold Bank analyst Anita Paluch said the figures showed Germany’s economy was strengthening and confidence was on the rise.

The average number of jobless over the past year was 2.95 million, an increase of 53,000 compared with 2012.