German Economic Growth in 2008: Temporary Slow Down
World economic growth has slowed in the first months of 2008. The main causes are the crisis in the US housing sector and the turmoil in the financial sector in general, the spreading expectation of a recession in the US, and sharply rising prices for energy and food. The German economy, though, is still expanding healthily, with strong investment and export activities. Private consumption, however, shrank at the end of 2007. In 2008, while favorable labor market conditions will improve job security and thus the propensity to consume, real incomes will not rise by much due to the risen inflation rate; consumption will again expand only modestly this year. A slower expansion of the world economy and the stronger euro will dampen exports and investment. All in all, growth will slow to (working-day adjusted) 1.2% in 2008. Chances are good that in the next year, after the negative shocks have faded out a bit, growth will be accelerating again. The East German Economy was on a lower growth path in 2006 and 2007 than the economy in the West, according to recently revised national accounts data. Industrial production, however, is more dynamic in the East. Unemployment rates will continue to decrease faster in the East: as in the rest of Germany, employment is growing, and, contrary to what happens in the West, the labor force is shrinking.