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German jobless rate rises

The number of people out of work in Germany has risen by less than expected in February, according to official figures.

The Federal Labour Office said yesterfday that the number of jobless rose by 7,000 from the previous month, taking the unemployment total to 3.43m. The country’s unemployment rate rose to 8.7 per cent, from 8.6 per cent in January.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, emerged from recession in the second quarter of 2009. Social welfare schemes and shorter working hours protected many from the worst effects of the recession. Separately, lending to private-sector companies in the 16-nation euro zone declined by 0.6 per cent in January compared to the same month last year, the European Central Bank said.