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German unemployment stable despite recession warning

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Berlin (AFP)

Germany's labour market remains robust, but is starting to feel the impact of a slowing economy, official data showed Thursday.

Federal labour agency (BA) chief Detlef Scheele said in a statement that "the weak economic phase" Germany is experiencing has also left "a slight mark" on the job market amid fears of a looming recession, but "all in all, however, it is proving to be robust".

Seasonally-adjusted figures showed five percent of people out of work in August, the same level for the previous three months consecutively.

However in absolute terms -- widely referenced in public debate but less representative of underlying trends -- unemployment increased 44,000 month-on-month to 2.32 million people out of work.

Meanwhile, vacancies fell by 8,000 in August, also in adjusted figures -- the fifth consecutive decrease in a row.

The slight drop in figures mirrors a more worrying trend in Europe's biggest economy with the central bank or Bundesbank having last week issued a warning that Germany could enter recession in the third quarter.

Falling orders against the backdrop of a trade war between the US and China, two of its main customers, have hit Germany's manufacturing industry hard.

The outlook for German growth "is not good" and "dark clouds are fuelling fears in the labour market", says Martin Mueller, labour market expert at KfW Bank, but "there is no sign of a recession yet, however."

At regional level, the unemployment rate remains at its lowest in Bavaria, at 2.9 percent, and Baden-Wuerttemberg, 3.3 percent.

It remains highest in the capital Berlin, at eight percent, and the state of Bremen, where it is a Germany-high figure of 10.3 percent.

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