Eastern German Economy: No Catching-up in 2008 and 2009
In the New Lander, growth of production is characterized by two diverging developments. On the one hand, the manufacturing sector has expanded strongly while the public service sector as well as the retail sectors has considerably damped economic activity. On the other hand, those firms primarily bound to local markets have gained hardly any momentum, whereas others have been stimulated by external markets in Western Germany and abroad. These differences are mainly due to weak local demand in the wake of a low purchasing power and an ongoing reduction in the population. At the same time, export-oriented firms in the manufacturing sector have benefited from strong external demand, and they will further benefit from it, although somewhat less owing to the slowing world economy. However, as East German exporting firms are less exposed to those countries where the ongoing crisis in the real estate and the financial sector has unfolded its dampening effects the most, they are also less prone to it. Accordingly, gross domestic product will increase by 1,7% this year and 0,8% in 2009. This translates into further improvements on labor markets. Registered unemployment will fall below one million. In particular, manufacturing firms and the private business service sector will increase their demand for labor.