Robust economy, immigration push German employment to record high

Employment numbers see 12th consecutive annual increase

BERLIN (Reuters) — Favorable economic conditions and an influx of foreign workers boosted employment in Germany to its highest since reunification in 1990, according to data published on Monday as the jobless rate hovers at a historic low.

Around 43 million people living in Europe's largest economy were in work last year, up 0.8 per cent on 2014 and a 12th consecutive annual increase, the Federal Statistics Office data showed.

It said an inflow of workers from eastern European states including Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia as well as from countries hit hard by the euro zone crisis such as Greece, Portugal and Spain had boosted employment.

Meanwhile, more people already living in Germany had found jobs thanks to the robust economy.

Germany's unemployment rate has repeatedly reached monthly post-reunification lows in 2015 and fell in November to 6.3 per cent from 6.4 per cent the previous month, according to Federal Labour Office data. December's data is due on Tuesday.

Croatian citizens have been able to work in Germany without restriction since the start of July, and Romanians and Bulgarians to take jobs in all European Union countries without a work permit since the beginning of 2014.

Germany saw a record influx of migrants last year, with 1.09 million entering the country according to one newspaper.

Many are not yet in work, meaning the correlation between that number and the growth in employment was very limited, if linked at all, the office said.

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