BERLIN – Germany’s labor market missed out on a traditional spring recovery in April as government figures showed that unadjusted employment levels got little help from the usual seasonal pickup. Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted unemployment figures were up for the sixth straight month. The unadjusted jobless rate was unchanged at 8.6 percent in April, with 3.585 million people out of work – only 1,000 fewer than in March – the Federal Labor Agency said. Compared with last April, 171,000 more people were jobless.
TALLINN, Estonia – The government of crisis-hit Estonia said it planned to borrow 415 million euros ($550 million) from two European banks as a buffer against the country’s deepening economic crisis. Estonia will borrow 150 million euros from Sweden’s Swedbank AB and 265 million euros from the European Investment Bank, the government said in a statement. The announcement was made just days after the country’s central bank revised downward this year’s economic decline to 12 percent, which qualifies as a depression according to some economists.
TOKYO – Japan’s struggling manufacturers are showing signs of life: The government said that industrial production rose for the first time in six months in March. What’s more, the outlook offered further reason for optimism. Factory output – pivotal in this export-oriented economy – is projected to rise 4.3 percent this month and another 6.1 percent in May. Stocks surged after the data’s release, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index soaring nearly 4 percent. The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index sprinted off the line in early trade and held onto the gains throughout the day, ending 3.9 percent higher, a gain of 334.49 points to 8,828.26.
BRUSSELS – The jobless rate in the 16 nations that use the euro surged to 8.9 percent in March, the highest level in nearly five years, the EU statistics office said Thursday. Unemployment is rising steeply despite recently higher business and consumer optimism about their recession-hit economy. Construction and industry are still suffering badly from low demand and many European government’s stimulus packages of government spending have been slow to come on line. The euro-zone jobless rate climbed from 8.7 percent in February. Euro-zone unemployment last hit 8.9 percent in November 2004.
LONDON – World stock markets rose on mounting hopes the global downturn was stabilizing, though investors remained wary of calling an end to the bear market. In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed up 54.12 points, or 1.3 percent, at 4,243.71 while Germany’s DAX rose 64.89 points, or 1.4 percent, to 4,769.45. The CAC-40 in France was 42.91 points, or 1.4 percent, higher at 3,159.85. German and French markets are closed Friday for the May Day public holiday.
SHANGHAI – Chinese shares rose after Wall Street’s overnight gains fueled hopes a Chinese rally would last. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index climbed 9.38 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 2477.57, ending April up 4.4 percent. The Shenzhen Composite Index for China’s smaller second exchange rose 1.4 percent to 828.96.