Recent data showed that the German economy, the biggest in Europe, contracted by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the latest output and orders data suggest little improvement can be expected in the first quarter. he year-on-year comparison showed that there were 550,000 more workers in February than in the same month last year, an increase of 1.4 percent. There was also a slight improvement in the monthly statistics, with some 33,000 more workers than in January.
At the same time, new figures show unemployment in Germany sank by 9.8 percent to 2.49 million over the past year. There were 271,000 fewer unemployed in Germany than a year. Unemployment tends to fall in the spring as sectors such as the construction sector take on workers again with the end of the cold winter weather.
But even seasonally-adjusted numbers, which iron out such distortions, declined in March from February and the seasonally-adjusted jobless rate eased to 6.7 percent, compared with 6.8 percent in February.