Unemployment in Germany, Europe's largest economy, continued to ease in March, as the labour market benefits from the improving economic outlook, official data showed today.
The number of people registered as unemployed in Europe's top economy fell by 12,000 to 2.901 million, after adjustment for seasonal blips, the Federal Labour Office said in a statement.
Analysts had been projecting a smaller decline of about 7,500.
The unemployment rate, which measures the number of people looking for work relative to the total of people in jobs or unemployed, was unchanged at 6.7% in seasonally-adjusted terms in March, the Federal Labour Office said.
In unadjusted terms, the German jobless total fell by 83,100 to 3.055 million and the unadjusted jobless rate was fell to 7.1% from 7.3%, the office calculated.
"The German economy got off to a good start in 2014," said labour office chief Frank-Juergen Weise.
"Against the backdrop of the Crimea crisis, short-term economic expectations have become somewhat cloudier, but remain at a very good level," Weise said.
"On the labour market, the increase in employment is continuing and has even gathered momentum recently, due not least to the very mild winter weather. Prospects are looking better for the unemployed," Weise said.
German public debt down still above EU ceiling
Germany reduced its public debt in 2013, but it still remains way above a key EU ceiling, new data has shown.
Germany's public debt, or accumulated annual deficits, amounted to €2.147 trillion in 2013, the country's central bank or Bundesbank calculated.
That was equivalent to 78.4% of gross domestic product, a long way off the 60% ratio laid down by the European Union.
Nevertheless, the data showed an improvement over 2012, when overall debt had stood at €2.161 trillion and the ratio at 81%.
Germany aims to bring down its debt ratio to 69% by 2017 and then to 60% by 2024.