Germany's unemployment rate hit a record low as its jobless total fell more than forecast in December, underpinning a broad-based economic upswing that augurs well for further strong growth in 2018.
Consumers in Europe's biggest economy are reaping the benefits of a jobs bonanza accompanied by rising real wages and ultra-low borrowing costs, while its exporters ride a recovery tide that is pushing up demand from the United States and China as well as other European states.
“There are no signs that the dynamic growth of the German economy will stop abruptly,” KfW chief economist Joerg Zeuner said in a research note following Wednesday's Federal Labour Office data.
“So we expect new employment records for 2018 and a further tangible increase in real wages.” The seasonally adjusted jobless total dropped by 29,000 to 2.442 million, the data showed - more than double the 12,000 forecast in a Reuters poll.
December's unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, the same as a revised reading for November and the lowest level since German reunification in 1990, the office said. In 2017 as a whole, the rate fell to 5.7 percent from 6.1 percent.