(Bloomberg) -- German unemployment held steady, a positive sign as a difficult winter approaches for Europe’s largest economy.

Joblessness rose by 14,000 in September, keeping the unemployment rate at 5.5%. That’s below the median estimate in a Bloomberg poll of economists for gain of 20,000.

“Despite rising prices and concerns about energy shortages, the labor market remains stable overall,” Federal Labor Agency chief Andrea Nahles said Friday in a statement. “Unemployment and underemployment fell at the start of autumn’s revival. But demand for labor is slipping slightly from a very high level.”

Germany is one of the countries hardest hit by the energy emergency triggered by the Ukraine war thanks to a reliance on Russian fuel imports built up over decades. Many economists say the economy is already shrinking, while inflation has surged beyond 10% for the first time since the euro was introduced more than two decades ago.

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