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German unemployment down to 6.8 percent in May

BERLIN (AP) -- A traditional spring pickup in job creation helped reduce Germany's unemployment rate to 6.8 percent in May from 7.1 percent the previous month.

In total, the Federal Labor Agency said Wednesday that 2.937 million people were registered as unemployed, down 83,000 over the month.

When adjusted for seasonal factors, unemployment was steady at 6.9 percent, in line with economists' expectations. However, the number of people unemployed rose by a bigger-than-anticipated 21,000.

The relatively low rates of unemployment in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, contrast with the sky-high levels seen elsewhere in the eurozone.

Recent surveys have shown the German economy picking up steam again, with business confidence and consumer sentiment up. In the first quarter, Germany only grew by a quarterly rate of 0.1 percent.