Bullish German job market data points to consumer-driven recovery

FILE PHOTO: Commuters wait at main train station Hauptbahnhof as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Berlin
FILE PHOTO: Commuters wear face masks as they wait on a platform of the main train station Hauptbahnhof, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Berlin, Germany, October 16, 2020. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

June 1, 2021

BERLIN (Reuters) – German unemployment fell more than expected in May as companies hired more staff in light of a recovery in Europe’s largest economy helped by falling coronavirus infections and an easing of lockdown measures, data showed on Tuesday.

The surprisingly solid job market data is supporting expectations for a consumer-driven recovery over the summer months as households are ready to splash out after months of limited possibilities to spend due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Labour Office said the number of people out of work fell by 15,000 in seasonally adjusted terms to 2.739 million. A Reuters poll had forecast a fall of 9,000.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate remained unchanged at 6% for the fifth consecutive month.

“There are first signs of a comprehensive improvement on the labour market in May. The impact of the coronavirus crisis is still visible very clearly, but it is becoming a bit smaller,” Labour Office head Detlef Scheele said.

In a further positive sign, the number of employees put on reduced working hours in job protection schemes, also known as Kurzarbeit, fell sharply in May, preliminary figures showed.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Riham Alkousaa)