German unemployment rate dips to 6.6 per cent in May, less than expected

BERLIN – Germany’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.6 per cent in May, but the traditional springtime decline was smaller than expected.

The Federal Labor Office said Wednesday that 61,000 fewer people were without work compared with April, when the unemployment rate was 6.8 per cent. Overall, 2.88 million people were without work in May.

When adjusted for seasonal factors, the rate was steady for the third month in a row at 6.7 per cent.

Because the mild winter meant the loss of fewer seasonal jobs in previous months, Labor Office head Frank-Juergen Weise said the spring recovery slowed in May, but that “overall the labour market is doing well.”

Germany’s economy grew a robust 0.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2014, and is widely predicted to grow about 1.9 per cent this year overall.