Berlin - Joblessness in the city rose minimally in December after four months of slight improvement. The Berlin office of the Federal Employment Agency announced 202,388 people were registered as unemployed in the city - just 75 more than in November. 

"Unemployment in Berlin was effectively unchanged in December," said Ramona Schröder, head of the regional employment agency, adding that the labour market was stable despite the lockdown at the end of the year.

The real effects of the corona crisis only become apparent if you compare the statistics to the same month a year ago. In December 2019, 52,238 more people had jobs in the German capital, meaning the current number is 35 per cent higher than 12 months ago.

Berlin's unemployment rate now stands at 10.1 per cent, up from 7.7 per cent a year ago. However, the effects of the "hard lockdown" that began in mid-December have not yet been factored into the tally since the cut-off date for the latest stats was before it began.

It appears short-time work programmes continue to prevent an explosion of unemployment. November already saw an increase in companies putting their staff on short-time work with the level remaining similar in December. A total of 2,708 firms reported short-time work for 21,000 employees.

Hospitality, retail, tourism and various service sectors are worst affected.