Germany’s unemployment rate rose slightly in March to 12 percent, the highest rate since the end of World War II.
The number of jobless people in the country fell by 40,000 in the month, to a total of 5.17 million, but the rate rose because of adjustments for seasonal variations in employment levels. The drop in the number of unemployed was less than usual for the month of March, which usually sees a rise in employment. Another factor contributing to the record unemployment level was the reclassification of people receiving social welfare as long-term unemployed.
The jobless rate is expected to play a crucial role in upcoming elections in the North Rhine-Westphalia province, where more than a million people are out of work and the unemployment rate is 12.4 percent. Polls show the Social Democrats are trailing the opposition Christian Democrats by 10 percentage points in the province.