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German unemployment falls in sign of continuing recovery

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German unemployment fell in July as companies hired more staff in light of a recovery in Europe’s largest economy, official figures showed on Thursday.

The Labour Office said the number of people out of work fell by 91,000 in seasonally adjusted terms to 2.598 million. A Reuters poll had forecast a fall of 28,000. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell to 5.7%.

“Unemployment and underemployment have continued to fall sharply since the start of the summer break,” Labour Office head Detlef Scheele said in a statement. “Companies are increasingly looking to hire new staff.”

The release of the jobless figures followed the publication on Monday of a survey showing German business morale fell unexpectedly in July on continuing supply chain worries and amid rising coronavirus infections.

After more than two months of steady decline, COVID-19 cases have been rising since early July, due mainly to the spread of the more infectious Delta variant.

Roughly 60% of Germany’s 83 million people have had a first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine and about half are fully vaccinated.