Germany's monthly unemployment figures decline in October

BERLIN, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Due to the usual "autumn revival," the number of unemployed people in Germany fell by 87,000 to 2.76 million in October, the Federal Employment Agency (BA) said on Thursday.

The unemployment rate in the country decreased slightly to 6.0 percent in October. Compared to pre-COVID-19 levels, however, the number of unemployed people was still significantly higher, up 556,000 from October last year, according to the BA.

Germany's labor market is still showing "clear signs of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic," said Detlef Scheele, head of BA, during a press conference on Thursday.

Around 2.58 million employees in Germany still receive short-time work compensation, a government program to avoid lay-offs during economic crises, according to the latest data for August. According to the BA, the number of short-time work benefit recipients has "gradually declined" from the previous peak of 5.95 million in April.

The figures showed that "Germany's labor market had already been on a clear path to recovery," Holger Schaefer, senior economist at the German Economic Institute (IW), told Xinhua on Thursday. The unemployment figures and the number of employees on short-time work were both decreasing again "quite significantly."

However, Schaefer pointed out that the cut-off date for the BA statistics was in the middle of the month and the "situation has deteriorated considerably since then." Also on Thursday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced that the number of COVID-19 infections in Germany reached a new daily record of 16,774.

"The uncertainty resulting from this renewed increase is therefore not reflected in the labor market figures," warned Schaefer. The recent recovery could "suffer a setback due to the increase in infections."

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