Official figures show that Germany's unemployment rate fell 0.3 points in June from May to 8.8%, its lowest level in 14 years.

The Federal Labour Agency calculated that the number of people claiming the dole dropped by 125,000 to just under 3.7 million in June. This was the lowest level since November 2000.

The jobless rate, which measures the total number of people out  of work against the total workforce, declined to its lowest level since June 1993.

'Thanks to the stable economy, employment is rising and unemployment is falling sharply. The demand for labour has increased  further,' said labour office chief Frank Weise.

Unemployment usually falls in the spring thanks to the warmer weather, which is favourable to sectors such as the construction industry. But even adjusted for seasonal effects, the German jobless total also declined noticeably, falling by 37,000 to 3.8 million, with the adjusted jobless rate slipping to 9.1% from 9.2%. The adjusted rate was the lowest since 1995.