Unemployment is rising in Europe’s two largest economies, with a shock jump in Germany and a new record high in France, according to the latest figures.

The number of unemployed people in Germany rose unexpectedly by 24,000 to 2.905 million in May. It was the biggest monthly increase since April 2009, and a long way off economist’s expectations of a 15,000 decrease. Economists said the drop could partly be explained by the weather, with a loss of fewer seasonal jobs during a milder than usual winter.

Christian Schulz, senior economist at Berenberg, said: “The rise in unemployment by 24,000 in May is likely a consequence of the usual spring upturn turning out weaker than in normal years because the downturn this winter had been less pronounced due to the mild weather.”

Despite the rise in unemployment numbers, the jobless rate was unchanged in May at 6.7%, and Schulz said Germany’s labour market “remains on a strong positive trend despite the slight May setback”.

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