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German unemployment hits 24-year low

[FRANKFURT] German unemployment fell in April to the lowest level in 24 years as the recovery in Europe's biggest economy continues to pick up speed, data showed on Thursday.

The number of people registered as unemployed in Germany fell by a seasonally-adjusted 8,000 to 2.792 million, the Federal Labour Office said.

That was slightly fewer than expected, as analysts had been pencilling in a decline of around 10,000.

The unemployment rate - which measures the jobless total against the working population as a whole - stood at 6.4 per cent in April, unchanged from March and the lowest level since west and east Germany reunited in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall the previous year.

In raw or unadjusted terms, the jobless total decreased by 88,660 to 2.843 million and the jobless rate fell to 6.5 per cent in April from 6.8 per cent in March, the labour office said.

Normally, unemployment declines in the spring as the warmer weather allows companies in sectors such as construction to take on workers.

But the current strength of the economic recovery in Germany was magnifying that effect, the labour office said.

"Early indicators point to a continuation of the positive development in 2015," it said.

"The labour market is developing positively, both on the supply and demand side." German gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, fuelled primarily by consumer spending and exports, but also by construction investment and experts expect the recovery to gather momentum this year.