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German Unemployment Dips in Feb.

March 8, 2000

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Unemployment in Germany dipped to 10.9 percent in February from 11 percent a month earlier, the Labor Office reported Wednesday.

But the number of people without jobs in Europe’s largest economy still hovered above 4 million people.

Nationwide, the number of unemployed people stood at 4.28 million last month, 187,000 fewer than a year ago and 16,300 fewer than January.

Labor Office president Bernhard Jagoda said the unadjusted figures show that Germany’s unemployment rate has dropped from 11.6 percent over the last year.

He attributed the improvement to Germany’s recovering economy, and said unemployment should continue to drop in the coming months, with 200,000 fewer jobless by the end of the year.

Still, he said the jobless rates remained high, especially in the formerly communist eastern region of Germany.

In western Germany, unemployment was just 8.9 percent, but in the east the rate stood at 19.3 percent.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has made cutting unemployment his No. 1 priority, but his centerpiece ``alliance for jobs″ roundtable with labor, business and government has produced few tangible results so far.

The opposition Christian Democratic Union said the figures were overly optimistic because they were not adjusted for seasonal factors, such as holiday closings and winter weather.

The opposition also complained that unemployment was not falling as fast in Germany as it was in other European countries.

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