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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November, 2004, 10:46 GMT
German army of unemployed grows
A young boy shows a poster reading
"Daddy must not lose his job"
The number of unemployed in Europe's largest economy rose by 12,000 last month to 4.457 million people.

Economists said this ninth consecutive rise would be followed by further increases in the months ahead.

"We have to expect a rise in January or February to above five million," said Dresdner bank economist Harald Joerg.

"No turnaround can yet be seen on the labour market", agreed Frank-Juergen Weise, head of the Federal Labour Agency.

Global weakness

The German economy has been growing by about 1.8% this year, but this has not been enough to spark a significant rise in job creation, economists said.

The rise in the jobless figure is also linked to the (welfare) reforms
Dresdner bank economist Harald Joerg
The country's unemployment figure remained unchanged last month at 10.7% after having been adjusted for seasonal factors.

The unadjusted figure, which offers less clear guidance of what is really going on, fell from 10.3% in September to 10.1% in October.

"The problem is that the global economy is already on a downwards path and momentum from exports will get weaker," said Helaba economist Stefan Muetze.

"A turnaround on the jobs market is slipping further into the distance."

Benefits registration

And yet, the situation for Germany's jobless is not as bad as it seems, other economists pointed out.

"The rise in the jobless figure is also linked to the (welfare) reforms," said Mr Joerg.

"More people are registering in order not to lose their benefits."

Among the controversial reforms have been proposals to cut benefits for the long-term jobless, and to cut generous welfare plans as the population ages.

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