The recession in German industry is now making itself felt on the job market. This morning, the Federal Statistical Office published employment figures for the manufacturing industry for the month of December. Compared to December 2018 employment is down 0.5% or 30,000 employees. Here is our comment on this: short-time work has been increasing significantly for some time now. Only two weeks ago, the German government in Berlin agreed that short-time work compensation can now also be paid for 24 instead of 12 months. This will probably hide the real weakness of industry in the job market for some time to come. This is because companies can keep their employees, who they would actually have to lay off. That is of course a good thing for companies and employees. Once the recession is over, production can be ramped up again immediately with the full workforce. But back to the topicality. In the bigger picture, comparing the whole of 2019 with 2018, the world is still quite okay. On an annual average, employment is still rising by 0.9% year-on-year, as today’s report says.
Here are a few detailed statements of the statisticians in wording:
Developments in the individual economic sectors varied greatly in December 2019. The sharpest decline in the number of employees compared with December 2018 was in the manufacture of electrical equipment, with -3.3%. Employment also declined in the manufacture of rubber and plastic products. In the manufacture of basic metals and fabricated metal products (-1.5 % each). There was also a decline in employment in the manufacture of metal products and in the manufacture of motor vehicles and parts (-1.3 % each). The strongest increase in the number of persons employed compared to the same month of the previous year was recorded in the manufacture of computer, electronic and optical equipment (+1.9 %). The number of persons employed also increased in the manufacture of food products and animal feed (+1.6%) and in the manufacture of chemicals and chemical products (+0.2%).
Although December 2019 had one more working day than December 2018, the number of hours worked in manufacturing fell by 0.5% year-on-year to 598 million hours. The wages of employees amounted to around 24.3 billion Euros. Compared to the same month of the previous year, this was an increase of 0.7%.