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Germany’s manufacturing sector employs fewer people for first time in 10 years

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BERLIN (Xinhua) — The number of employees in Germany’s manufacturing companies with 50 or more staff last year declined by 2.2 percent year-on-year to around 5.5 million, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) announced on Tuesday.

“This is the first time in ten years that the number of employees has fallen compared with the previous year,” Destatis noted. In 2010, the financial crisis had led to a 2.4 percent decline in the number of employees in the sector.

In December 2020, the largest decrease in the number of employees was recorded in metal production and processing, down 5.8 percent year-on-year, according to Destatis. The number of employees also fell significantly in mechanical engineering and in the manufacture of rubber and plastic products.

Manufacture of chemical products in Germany, however, already recorded a 1.6 percent increase in the number of employees in December year-on-year, according to Destatis.

The COVID-19 crisis also had “noticeable effects” on hours worked and earnings in Germany’s manufacturing sector, Destatis noted. The number of hours worked last year decreased by 6.9 percent, while paid wages dropped by 5.1 percent to 288 billion euros (about 350 billion U.S. dollars).

The monthly economic report published on Monday by the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy showed that the ongoing COVID-19 measures continue to weigh on the German economy in the first quarter of this year.

According to the ministry, the further development of the German economy would largely depend on how quickly the increase in the number of infections during the winter could be contained. (1 euro = 1.22 U.S. dollars) (Xinhua)

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