Europe’s unemployment rate rises slightly, Germany considers stimulus| Instant News


BERLIN – Europe’s unemployment rate rose slightly last month, contained by the use of a labor program that has kept millions of workers on the payroll and because some people stopped looking for work, official data showed Wednesday.

The unemployment rate in 19 countries using the euro rose to 7.3% in April, the first full month when a pandemic lock hit the continent, from 7.1% in March, the statistical agency Eurostat said Wednesday.

The increase in unemployment in Europe has been moderate by international standards because employers make extensive use of government-supported short work programs that allow them to keep employees on their payroll while they wait for better time.

In Germany, the largest economy in Europe, federal employment agencies pay at least 60% of reduced employee wages or zero hours. About 10.66 million people registered for the program in March and April, and 1.06 million were followed in May, the employment agency said – although it was emphasized that this did not mean they all really did short-term work. Germany has a population of 83 million.

European unemployment figures also appear flattered by the fact that some unemployed people may stop looking for work and stop counting as job seekers.

That seems to be the case in a country like Italy, where the unemployment rate has actually dropped, to 6.3% from 8% in seasonally adjusted terms. In Germany, the unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.3% from 5.8% according to the size of its own employment agency.

On Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition spent the second day completing a stimulus package intended to help start the economy. It is estimated that it is worth 80-100 billion euros ($ 89-112 billion).

Germany already offers a total of more than 1 trillion euros in aid through various packages, which include money for pairs of small companies and individual entrepreneurs through virus-related closures and to pump capital into larger companies where needed.

The crisis has thwarted the dedication of the government to keep its budget balanced, very proud. After six years in the dark, the country borrowed 156 billion euros to finance the existing rescue package and cover the expected shortfall in tax revenue.

Germany began loosening the coronavirus restrictions on April 20, about one month after it was introduced, and easing has increased since then. However, the economy experienced a recession in the first quarter and it is expected to deepen in the current quarter.

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