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FRANKFURT: German unemployment dropped to pre-pandemic levels in February, two years after the coronavirus shuttered large parts of the economy, official figures published Wednesday showed.

The jobless rate stood at five percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the BA federal labour agency, the same level as in February 2020.

Employment had followed a steady "upwards trend", BA chairman Detlef Scheele said in a statement, despite Germany's economic struggles around the turn of the year.

Renewed health restrictions and the impact of supply chain disruptions will likely put Europe's largest economy into a recession between the last quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, according to the German central bank.

The impact of the war in Ukraine is "not yet reflected in the figures", Scheele said, with the potential that the economic fallout from the Russian invasion at the end of February could unsettle the job market once again.

Eurozone unemployment hits historic low

In raw figures, 2.4 million people were unemployed in Germany in February, just 32,000 more than in February 2020.

The number out of work was 476,000 lower than in February 2021, when the economy was still suffering the worst effects of the pandemic.

The figures will be closely watched by policymakers at the European Central Bank, looking out for signs that a tighter labour market could lead to more sustained inflation.

Lower joblessness could increase wage demands, supporting price rises across the economy.

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