Victories that sound terrible, when you think about it

Germany’s economist types are celebrating today because unemployment reached a big milestone mark — dipping under 4 million for the first time since 2002. For those counting, that’s still a whopping 9.5 percent unemployment here. I can’t find current Berlin figures, but the most recent ones I’ve seen are still somewhere up north of 15 percent.

And yet there’s a real estate boom making the US papers. Like many articles about Berlin, this one gushes a bit about all the potential, the art, oh, the crazy clubs. And, ok, there’s the massive unemployment, the $83 billion city debt, the graffiti and shuttered factories. My favorite line is this:

“At the moment we have no long-term signs that Berlin will enjoy economic growth,” said Thomas Sandner, a property assessor in the city planning office. “We don’t want to wipe the mood away, but we’re still waiting for a better business climate.”

The Germans just don’t do hype that well. It’s one reason I like it here. For now, our rent is still dirt cheap.