German unemployment rate rises for first time in five years

German unemployment rate rises for first time in five years
A man runs near Thuringia's work agency. Photo: DPA
The increase comes a month after Germany boasted its lowest unemployment rate since reunification.

Germany's unemployment figures rose in May for the first time in more than five years, official data showed Wednesday.

The shift occurred amid signs of slowing growth in Europe's biggest economy, and federally corrected data about the number of people receiving unemployment benefits.

Five percent of people were out of work in Germany, up 0.1 percentage points, reported Federal Labour Agency.

In March and April, the countrywide jobless rate was 4.9 percent — the lowest since reunification in 1990.

SEE ALSO: Germany's unemployment rate at lowest level in nearly 30 years

May's figures marked the first time Germany's unemployment rate has increased since November 2013 — when it was up to 6.9 percent.

“The labour market is showing the first effects of the recent somewhat weaker economic development,” the labour agency's chief Detlef Scheele said in a statement.

In absolute terms, the number of people unemployed rose by just 7,000 in May to 2,236,000, but the seasonally adjusted increase is 60,000.

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New classifications as unemployed

Scheele said “companies demands for new employees weakened noticeably at a high level,” but he also put the changed figures down to a data adjustment made following a series of checks on people receiving unemployment benefits.

In April the Federal Audit Office conducted inspections of 302 German job centres, finding that that there were 30,000 to 40,000 more unemployed people than previously reported.

The discrepancies, with the Audit Office did not consider to be deliberate, occurred after Hartz IV welfare recipients – who were again fit to work after additional training or the end of the illness – had not yet been re-classifed as unemployed.

Looking to the country's different regions, the unemployment rate for the month remains lowest in the southern states of Bavaria, at 2.7 percent, and Baden-Württemberg at 3.1 percent.

In comparison, the northern city of Bremen posted the national high of 10 percent, while capital Berlin came in second at 7.8, down slightly from 8.1 in April.

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