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German employment hits record

Cooling units are seen in a Vattenfall cooling plant in Berlin, Germany, in this August 15, 2017 photo. (Reuters)
BERLIN: German employment has hit the highest since reunification in 1990 while the number of home building permits fell in the first half of the year, data showed on Thursday, sending mixed signals about the state of Europe’s biggest economy.
In a positive sign for household spending and tax revenues with Germany’s growing population, employment reached a record 44.2 million people in the second quarter, data from the Statistics Office showed.
“That’s the highest level ever recorded in a quarter since German reunification,” a spokesman for the office said, adding that the services sector was expanding the fastest.
Employment between April and June rose by 475,000 on the quarter and by 664,000 on the year, the data showed.
Among the companies creating more jobs were information and communication firms, education and health providers, restaurants as well as construction firms.
Separately, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed that German authorities issued some 13,400 fewer residential building permits in the first half of the year compared with the first six months of 2016.
Home building has become a key driver of economic expansion in Germany as increased job security and record-low borrowing costs are boosting demand for real estate.
Higher state spending on roads, bridges and social housing, partly to accommodate a record influx of refugees over the past two years, is giving construction additional support.
— Reuters

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