The number of unemployed in people in West Germany rose to 1,150,000 in January -- the worst unemployment figures for 15 years.
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Background: The number of unemployed in people in West Germany rose to 1,150,000 in January -- the worst unemployment figures for 15 years.
The figure represents about 5 per cent of the country's work-force. It has been dramatically in the last few months. There were 800,000 unemployed in November, or about 3.5 per cent.
Current predictions suggest the rise will continue and the jobless figures for this month could be as high as 1,500,000.
The West German economy is still the healthiest in Europe. Inflation is running at 7.5 per cent and only last week the Government announced an all-time record trade surplus of DM 50.757 billion (about GBP9,200 million sterling) on the year, as well as a record December trade surplus.
Those hardest-hit by rising unemployment are the thousands of foreign workers who have been attracted by the country's high wages.
The government has reacted to the rise in unemployment figures by switching its emphasis from fighting inflation to heading off unemployment. And a government report released last week predicted that although unemployment would rise to more than a million for the first few months of the year it will drop to between 500,000 and 600,000 by the end of the year.