German retail sales dip, employment up

German retail sales dip, employment up

FRANKFURT - Agence France-Presse
German retail sales dip, employment up

Mercedes Benz employees work on Mercedes S-class limousines in Stuttgart. REUTERS photo

Germany was the only eurozone country to post positive economic indicators at the end of January as retail sales increased in 2011 on the back of low unemployment and relatively stable growth despite a
fall in December, official data showed yesterday.

Eurozone unemployment, meanwhile, hit a record 10.4 percent in November and December, provisional official figures showed yesterday.

German retail sales grew by between 0.9 percent in real or price-adjusted terms for the whole of last year, according to provisional figures by the federal statistics office.

However, it said that December’s figure declined by 1.4 percent compared with November in
price, seasonally and calendar-adjusted terms.

The German labor market is continuing to hold up against the crisis and seasonally-adjusted unemployment dropped again to new record lows, data showed.

“The favorable development on the labor market continued in January,” said the head of the Federal Labor Agency, Frank Weise.

The total number of people claiming dole rose by 301,500 to 3.082 million this month, equivalent to a jobless rate -- which measures the unemployment total as a proportion of the population as a whole -- of 7.3 percent, up from 6.6 percent in December.

The Eurostat data agency had previously estimated an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent in November but it was revised to 10.4 percent in its latest report.

The jobless rate has now remained at 10 percent or above for eigth months in a row.

Italy’s unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent in December -- its highest level since 2004, preliminary data showed yesterday, as the government struggles to rein in public finances and boost growth.
The rate in November was 8.8 percent, the Istat agency said. The picture was even worse in Hungary, as unemployment edged up to 10.7 percent in the three months to end December from 10.6 percent in period from September to November, official data said yesterday.

On a yearly comparison, the jobless rate was slightly lower than the 10.8 percent figure registered in October-December, the KSH office said.

French household consumption slipped by 0.5 percent on average last year, figures released yesterday showed.

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