Significant Progress in East German Machine Construction Industry
The restructuring of the mechanical engineering industry of the new Länder has displayed clearly positive effects. Between 1997 and 2001, productivity and turnover have increased by about 25 %. Since mid 1999 the number of employees has also gone up again. Business surveys indicate an improvement in profitability. This positive development is due to an increase in competitiveness which is based on new product lines together with more effective innovation activities. Growth has also been enhanced by the enlargement and modernisation of the capital stock and a moderate movement of wages. Despite this progress the east German engineering industry as a whole does by far not reach the productivity figures of its west German counterpart. Differences explaining this gap are found in the product structure with dominating customer specific products and in the firm size with a smaller number of employees in the East.