In Germany, the number of people unemployed increased in October for the first time in more than two years, while the consensus was looking for another decline. The number of people unemployed rose by 10 000 to a total level of 2.941 million. Also the unemployment rate picked unexpectedly up in October, rising from 6.9% to 7.0%. Employment, which is reported with an extra month lag, continued to increase in September, rising by 18 000 to a total level of 41.140 million. Encouraging was that the number of vacancies continued to increase in October. The German unem-ployment rate is still near record low levels, but this increase provides further evidence that the German economy is losing steam. It is too early to speak from a trend, but in the coming months it should become clear whether the German labour market is over its peak.
The final figure of euro zone manufacturing PMI for October showed a downward revision from 47.3 to 47.1, compared to 48.5 in September, the lowest level since July 2009. National data show a more mixed picture. French manufacturing PMI was downwardly revised from 49.0 to 48.5, but still up from the previous month (48.2), while the German reading was slightly upwardly revised to 49.1 (from 48.9). In Ire-land (50.1 from 48.3) and Spain (43.9 from 43.7), manufacturing PMI rose in Octo-ber, compared with the previous month, while in Italy (43.3 from 48.3) and Greece (40.5 from 43.2) rates of contraction accelerated sharply. Details are bleak as out-put, new orders and new export orders all contracted at the fastest rates in al-most two and a half year, the only possible bright spot was an easing in infla-tionary pressures. The manufacturing PMI confirms that signs of weakness are becoming increasingly apparent in the core nations, while the periphery re-mains stuck in recession.