Page last updated at 11:09 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

German unemployment rises as cold weather bites

BMW worker in east Germany
Shorter working hours have helped keep unemployment down

German unemployment has risen, but by less than expected, as the cold weather put an end to recent improvements in the job market.

Official figures showed the jobless total rose by 6,000 people in January, taking the unemployment rate to 8.2%, up from 8.1% in December.

The total number of unemployed in Germany now stands at 3.43 million.

The Federal Labour Office said shorter working hours had helped to keep unemployment in check.

"The strong winter with heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures has hurt the German labour market, but the fact that seasonally-adjusted unemployment only increased marginally is good news," said Carsten Brzeski at ING.

Despite the small rise in the jobless number, analysts said the job market is healthier in Germany than it is in many other countries.

"January's increase in German unemployment is a disappointment after recent falls, but labour market conditions still look much better than elsewhere," said Jennifer McKeown at Capital Economics.

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