German authorities say the country's unemployment rate increased to 6.7 percent in January from 6.1 percent in December, but the rise was due to seasonal factors.

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The Federal Labor Agency said Tuesday that 2.92 million people were registered as unemployed last month.

That's an increase of 239,000 compared with December, but was 111,000 lower than last January.

Unemployment typically increases when harsh winter weather weighs on activities such as construction.

Agency chief Frank-Juergen Weise pointed to a drop in seasonally adjusted unemployment.

The seasonally-adjusted jobless rate dipped to 6.2 percent from 6.3 percent in December, with 20,000 fewer people out of work.

Economists had predicted an unchanged rate and a smaller decline.

The German economy, Europe's biggest, grew by 1.7 percent last year. A similar performance is expected this year.

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