German unemployment registered a surprising fall in June when the labour market in Europe's biggest economy proved robust, official data showed on Thursday while many EU countries battle lengthening jobless queues.
Analysts said Germany's "showcase" labour market was still bearing the fruits of past reforms, enabling it to better withstand a faltering economic climate and translating into good news for consumer spending.
"The German labour market is proving all in all to be in good shape. It's developing robustly despite the difficult economic environment," Federal Labour Office chief Frank-Juergen Weise said in a written statement.
The unemployment rate stood at 6.8 percent this month in seasonally-adjusted terms, according to the office's monthly figures.
This meant that the rate was the same as in May after that figure was revised slightly downwards.
But even though the rate was stable, that translated into 12,000 fewer people searching for work in June.
Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had reckoned on a rise in the number of jobless of about 5,000 people, and a rate of 6.9 percent.
The figures provided further cheer to the German economy after a poll released Wednesday showed consumers remained confident, with their expectations about pay and the health of the economy continuing to rise.
The raw or unadjusted jobless total stood at 2.86 million and the jobless rate -- which measures the number of unemployed as a proportion of the working population as a whole -- at 6.6 percent, down from 6.8 percent a month earlier.
An analyst at Berenberg Bank, Christian Schulz, agreed that Germany's job market was showing itself to be robust despite having cooled slightly in recent months and, at 6.8 percent was back to the lowest rate since reunification in 1990.
"The impact of last year's euro crisis peak seems to be fading, so that jobs growth can resume," he said.
"Higher incomes, stable low inflation and higher job security provide strong fundamentals for consumption as well, which is picking up now that the confidence-dampening impact of the eurozone crisis is fading," he added.
ING Belgium economist Carsten Brzeski said the labour market's "spring revival" had been delayed after a high number of public holidays and cold weather in May "blurred" last month's figure.
"The German labour market remains the showcase example for successful labour market reforms," he said, adding this month's revival was the strongest June revival since 2010.
"It seems as if earlier reforms are still paying off and that the German labour market needs less economic growth than in the past to create jobs," he commented.
Annalisa Piazza of Newedge Strategy concurred.
"Despite the cyclical slowdown, German unemployment remained stable at record low levels as past structural reforms and flexibility in the labour market rules helped companies to absorb the past few year's shocks," she said.
Europe's biggest economy narrowly scraped past a recession in the year's first quarter with 0.1-percent growth, after a contraction of 0.7 percent in the last quarter of 2012.
Meanwhile for the eurozone as a whole, unemployment hit a fresh high in April for the 24th month, deepening the plight of the jobless young, with youth unemployment spiralling to hit one out of two in Spain, for example.
Germany, where 5.6 percent of young people are without work and whose apprenticeship system is widely admired, hosts a conference on the issue next week, while EU leaders' talks beginning in Brussels later will also focus on the problem.
The German labour market "has weathered the muted spring stimulus and the uncertain signs from other European countries," Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen commented in a statement.