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According to provisional data published by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), the number of persons in employment whose place of employment was in Germany amounted to about 39.8 million in the first quarter of 2010, which was a decline of -107,000 persons or -0.3% on a year earlier. The decrease in employment has slowed down since the fourth quarter of 2009, when the number of persons in employment was lower by -158,000 or -0.4% than in the same period of the preceding year.
Compared with the fourth quarter of 2009, the number of persons in employment dropped by -735,000 (—1.8%) for seasonal reasons in the first quarter of 2010.
In industry (including energy), the number of persons in employment declined for the fifth consecutive quarter compared with the corresponding period a year earlier. It fell by -321,000 or -4.1%, following a decrease by -334,000 persons or also -4.1% in the fourth quarter of 2009.
The service sector (trade, hotels and restaurants, transport, financial intermediation, renting and business services as well as other service activities) has remained unaffected by the economic crisis. Employment in this sector rose by 207,000 persons or 0.7% in the first quarter of 2010 from a year earlier, a stronger increase than in the fourth quarter of 2009 (+168,000 persons or +0.6%).
In construction, the slight upward trend observed since the second quarter 2009 continued in the first quarter of 2010 (+5,000 persons or +0.2%).
Likewise, there was a small increase in employment in agriculture, forestry and fishing from a year ago, amounting to +2,000 persons or also +0.2%.
The overall decline in employment compared with the same quarter a year ago was solely due to the decrease in the number of employees, which fell by -109,000 (-0.3%) to some 35.5 million in the first quarter of 2010. The use of the short-time work scheme and the rise in part-time employment continued to have a supportive effect. In contrast, the number of self-employed including family workers rose slightly by 2,000 to about 4.4 million in the reporting quarter.
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