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German unemployment steady in April despite lockdown

BERLIN (AP) – Unemployment in Germany remained steady in April, according to official figures Thursday, as pandemic lockdown measures in Europe’s largest economy appeared not to dent the job market.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6% when adjusted for seasonal factors, the Federal Labor Agency said.

“Thanks to the spring recovery, the labor market is developing solidly,” agency Chairman Detlef Scheele said.

“The ongoing restrictions in many areas are slowing down the recovery, but are not leading to any new strains” on Germany’s job market, he said.

The unadjusted jobless rate, the headline figure in Germany, slipped to 6% from 6.2% in March. Some 2.77 million people were registered as unemployed in the nation of 83 million, 56,000 fewer than in the previous month but 127,488 more than in April a year ago.

Pandemic-related unemployment increases in Germany and elsewhere in Europe have been moderate by international standards. Employers are making heavy use of salary support programs, often referred to as furlough schemes, which allow them to keep employees on their payrolls while they await better times.

In Germany, the labor agency pays at least 60% of the salary of employees who are on reduced or zero hours.

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