Germans get to work, go shopping

Germany's economy looks to be battling through new health worries, for now at least.

New numbers Tuesday showed retail sales posting a surprise jump in November.

They were up 0.6% on the month, when economists had predicted a drop.

That took annual sales to a record high, despite a year of curbs on visits to shops.

The labour market is holding up well too, with unemployment falling more than expected in December.

The number out of work fell by 23,000, when economists polled by Reuters had forecast a drop of just 15,000.

Detlef Scheele is president of the German Labour Office:

"Companies continue to have high demand for new employees and the number of open jobs is almost where it was prior to the coronavirus outbreak. The number of posted jobs is significantly higher, also because skilled labour is scarce and because it is often difficult to find new people so it takes longer to fill the positions. It is clear that companies believe there is light at the end of the tunnel and they are heading into 2022 with optimism."

Resurgent health worries hang over future prospects though.

In December more companies warned that they could start ramping up furloughs again.

The country's Ifo research institute has warned that Germany's economy will stagnate as new restrictions bite.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting