Person walking towards the job centre in Wiesbaden, western Germany
Unemployment in Germany rose unexpectedly in May as clouds begin to appear on the horizon of Europe's biggest economy and favourable effects from the mild weather wear off, data showed on Wednesday. After taking into account
seasonal factors, the number of people registered as unemployed rose by 23,900 to 2.905 million this month, the Federal Labour Office said in a statement.
Analysts had been pencilling in a decline of around 15,000.
"For the past few months, the economic outlook has been clouding over somewhat, albeit at a high level," the office said in a statement.
"Unemployment and underemployment increased in May. As a result of the mild weather, the joblessness usually seen in winter did not materialise so strongly this year," the statement said.
Outdoor sectors such as construction and agriculture typically lay off workers during the cold winter months.
But they have not needed to do so this year as a result of the unusually mild weather, flattering the overall jobless figures in the winter months.
The unemployment rate, which measures the number of people looking for work as a proportion of the working population, was steady at 6.7 percent in May, the Federal Labour Office said.
Nevertheless, in raw or unadjusted terms, the German jobless total fell by 61,300 to 2.882 million and the unadjusted jobless rate slipped to 6.6 percent from 6.8 percent, the office calculated.
Analysts insisted that German labour market remains robust and the favourable trend intact.
"The mild winter, which had flattered German economic data a bit in the first quarter.. is now striking back. Some of the winter strength will fade in the second quarter," said Berenberg Bank economist Christian Schulz.
"Nevertheless, Germany's labour market remains on a strong positive trend despite the slight May setback," he said.
Employment is still on the increase.
Statistics published separately by the federal statistics office Destatis showed that the number of people in work increased by 34,000 to 42.101 million in April.
That was consistent with 400,000-500,000 new jobs over this year as a whole, Schulz said.
And that was good news for Germany's economy.
"The continued jobs boom is a major force behind Germany's buoyant domestic demand,with consumption joining investment as a key driver of growth," Schulz said.
"Germany is contributing to the eurozone rebalancing by sucking in more imports, but also by offering jobs to immigrants to make up for the intensifying labour shortage at home," he said.
BayernLB economist Johannes Mayr said that the strong momentum seen on the labour market at the beginning of the year was unlikely to be maintained in the coming months.
"But aside from monthly volatility, we believe the labour market remains in an uptrend," Mayr said.
Natixis economist Johannes Gareis agreed.
"After the German job market surprised to the upside from month to month since the beginning of this year, it took on a break in May," he said.
"However, since the good German joblessness figures in the recent months benefitted significantly from the mild winter weather, today's rebound is not very worrying," Gareis said.
In fact, with the jobless rate of 6.7 percent close to its post-unification lows, "today's job report provides further signals for robust growth of the German economy from consumer spending," Gareis concluded.