BERLIN (AFP) - German unemployment registered a small unexpected rise in August, due to a scaling back of job creation schemes, but the labour market overall remains stable, official data showed on Thursday.
The number of people registered as unemployed in Europe's top economy rose by 7,000 to 2.943 million in seasonally adjusted terms this month, the Federal Labour Office said in a statement.
Analysts had been expecting a drop of around 5,000.
Nevertheless, the unemployment rate - which measures the proportion of people out of work compared with working population as a whole - was unchanged at 6.8 per cent this month in seasonally-adjusted terms, the Federal Labour Office.
"This is mostly due to fewer relief measures in labour market policy," the office said.
"Overall, developments on the labour market can be described as stable," it said.
In raw or unadjusted terms, the German jobless total rose by 31,600 to 2.946 million, while the unadjusted jobless rate was also steady at 6.8 per cent, the office calculated.
Postbank economist Heinrich Bayer said: "We wouldn't see the data as any great disappointment. Over the past few months, the jobless number has remained more or less steady, as is reflected in the unchanged jobless rate."
The labour market was "a lagging economic indicator, which is about six months behind the real economic development. If the economic recovery gathers momentum, then the labour market will gain pace again in the coming months," Mr Bayer said.
"Unemployment is rising a bit because government-sponsored employment programmes have been terminated as they are no longer required," said Berenberg Bank economist Christian Schulz.
"With the eurozone on the right track to recovery, business and consumer confidence rebounding and with the support from the very accommodative monetary policy of the European Central Bank, investment should make a comeback in Germany, leading to more job creation," the expert said.