NUREMBERG, Germany (AP) _ The unemployment rate in Germany held steady at 9.3 percent in August, the same as in July.

The unadjusted unemployment rate stayed even with July's figure of 9.3 percent, with 3.8 million out of work last month. That is 243,060 fewer people out of work than a year ago and 23,000 fewer than the month before.

The unemployment rate has been below 10 percent since sinking to 9.8 percent in April.

Labor Office President Bernhard Jagoda said the figures showed a brightening of Germany's overall economic conditions but were still disappointing in eastern German states, where a slump in the construction industry keeps unemployment high.

The jobless picture in former communist east stayed steady at 17 percent with 1.34 million out of work.

In western Germany, the unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent from 7.5 percent in July, with 2.44 million out of work.

German unemployment was higher than the European Union average, which fell to a nine-year low of 8.4 percent in June, reflecting an overall upturn in region's economy.