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The number of people from Southern Europe desperate to find jobs in Germany has increased dramatically, the federal employment agency said. Particularly unemployed Greeks and Spaniards are flocking into the country in the hope to find work.
Overall, the number of employed Southern Europeans in Germany has surged within the space of a year by +6.5% or 452,000 in May 2012, beating the total increase seen in the workforce which was up by +1.6%.
This is according to a new report by the federal agency released on Thursday, showing that in May this year Italians made up the largest group of Southern Europeans working in the country(232,800), followed by Greeks (117,700), Portuguese (55,600) and Spaniards (46,000).
The agency added that most of these workers are likely to be recent immigrants although it could not exclude that some of these nationals had already been residents in Germany.
Spain has one of the highest unemployment rate in Europe with the most recent EU statistics showing a jobless rate of 24.8% in June, more than double of that seen in Italy (10.8%). In Portugal unemployment has also been steadily on the rise reaching 15.6% in June. The situation of the Greek labour market is particularly grave as more than half of employable people were out of work in April (52.8%).
Staffing firms in Germany have been reporting an increase of jobseekers from Southern Europe for months. The lack of prospects in their own country drives people abroad and employment agencies in Portugal have been talking of “waves” of local workers leaving for Germany.