02.10.2019 • 20/2019
Joint Economic Forecast Autumn 2019: Economy Cools Further – Industry in Recession
Berlin, October 2, 2019 – Germany’s leading economics research institutes have revised their economic forecast for Germany significantly downward. Whereas in the spring they still expected gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 0.8% in 2019, they now expect GDP growth to be only 0.5%. Reasons for the poor performance are the falling worldwide demand for capital goods – in the exporting of which the Germany economy is specialised – as well as political uncertainty and structural changes in the automotive industry. By contrast, monetary policy is shoring up macroeconomic expansion. For the coming year, the economic researchers have also reduced their forecast of GDP growth to 1.1%, having predicted 1.8% in the spring.
Read press release
United Country – Three Decades After the Wall Came Down
The Berlin Wall, once the symbol of the divided Germany, has now been gone for longer than it ever existed. But the differences within the country are still visible. However, recent research suggests that different economic development does not always follow the former inner-German border. Apart from the west-east divide, differences also emerge between the south and the north or between the cities and the country.
Lohnunterschiede zwischen Betrieben in Ost- und Westdeutschland: Ausmaß und mögliche Erklärungsfaktoren. Ergebnisse aus dem IAB-Betriebspanel 2017
The economic situation in German establishments improved even further in 2017. The development of wages, however, reflects this economic growth only partly. Compared to 1997, the wage differential between large and small establishments increased considerably – with substantially lower wages paid in East Germany in general. The wage differential of about 19 percent between East and West Germany can to some extent be explained in a multivariate analysis (Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition) showing that the main cause for the wage gap is the productivity gap between East German and West German establishments; other structural heterogeneities like sector composition, industrial relations and size structure seem not to contribute to an explanation of this gap. The overall positive economic development in Germany is associated with a further growth in total employment and with increased labor market dynamics, especially regarding employee turnover. Turnover rates, however, are very heterogeneous among sectors, ranging from 23 percent in the accommodation and food service sector and less than five percent in public administration. Also the demand for skilled personnel continued to grow. Yet for the first time, not even two thirds of the posted job vacancies could be filled in 2017. With over fifty percent, this non-occupancy quota is particularly high in the construction industry. Also small and very small establishments face serious recruitment problems. The structure of formal occupational skill requirements did not change very much over recent years, but the increasing use of digital technologies changes everyday job requirements and may lead to a rising workload for employees. Looking at the personnel structure in the German economy, a growing share of atypical employment becomes apparent, especially in form of part-time jobs. The proportion of marginal employment remains relatively stable and is comparatively high in sectors with less specific knowledge requirements and strong cyclical and/or seasonal fluctuations like is the case in accommodation and food service sector or personal services sector. Since 2010, the proportion of establishments authorized to provide in-company vocational training has declined constantly and now accounts for 53 percent of the establishments in Germany. About one half of these establishments do actually train apprentices. The share of vacant apprenticeships further increased in 2017 to about one quarter of all apprenticeships offered, in East Germany even to more than one third. As in recent years, the share of establishments supporting further training of their employees remained stable at about fifty percent and the proportion of employees participating in training is still about one third. In East Germany these figures prove to be slightly higher.
25.05.2018 • 12/2018
The resistance of employers against works councils
Germany votes. However, this time it’s not about the politicians – instead it’s about the works councils. It’s certainly worthwhile: Many studies have shown that works councils all in all have a positive impact on productivity, wages and profits. Despite this, employers are sometimes very resistant to the idea of staff involvement in company decision-making. A common argument is that such participation limits managerial freedom and that employers are willing to sacrifice the benefits of staff participation in return for greater room for manoeuvre. Steffen Müller from the Halle Institute for Economic Research Halle (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association now provides an alternative economic justification for employer resistance: Employer associations are dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises, and in these works councils – in contrast to large firms – often produce no positive economic benefits.
Read press release
19.04.2018 • 7/2018
Joint Economic Forecast Spring 2018: Germany’s Economic Experts Raise Forecast Slightly
Berlin, 19 April – Germany’s leading economic experts raised their forecasts for 2018 and 2019 slightly in their Spring Joint Economic Forecast released on Thursday in Berlin. They now expect economic growth of 2.2 percent for this year and 2.0 percent for 2019, versus 2.0 percent and 1.8 percent respectively in their autumn forecast. “The German economy is still booming, but the air is getting thinner as unused capacities are shrinking“, notes Timo Wollmershaeuser, ifo Head of Economic Forecasting. Commenting on the new German government’s economic policy, he adds: “It is precisely when the government’s coffers are full that fiscal policy should reflect the implications of its actions for overall economic stability and the sustainability of public finances. The extension of statutory pension benefits outlined in the coalition agreement runs counter to the idea of sustainability.”
Read press release
14.12.2017 • 39/2017
Cyclical upswing in Germany and in the world
At the turn of the year, the cyclical upswing in Germany continues. Gross domestic product is expected to increase by 2.2% in 2017, and because this year has seen significantly fewer working days than before, the rate of change amounts, adjusted for calendar effects, to even 2.5%. “The upswing is broad-based”, says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department Macroeconomics and IWH vice president. “For quite a long time now, significant increases in employment have been driving private incomes, consumption and housing construction. The latter was, in addition, stimulated by low interest rates.” Currently, German exports are benefiting from the vivid international economy. Not least since monetary policy in the euro area remains expansionary for the time being, we expect the upturn to continue in 2018 and production to increase again by 2.2%. Consumer price inflation is, with 1.7%, still moderate in both 2017 and 2018. Although domestic price pressures are on the rise, the effects of the energy price increase in 2017 expire in 2018, and the appreciation of the euro in the summer of 2017 will dampen price dynamics.
Read press release
28.09.2017 • 35/2017
Joint Economic Forecast—Autumn 2017: Upturn Remains Robust—Amid Mounting Tensions
The German economic upturn has gained both in terms of strength and breadth. In addition to consumer spending, external trade and investments are now also contributing to economic expansion. These are the conclusions drawn by the economic research institutes in their autumn report for the German federal government. Whereas the very high economic momentum in the first half of the current year will slow slightly, expansion of economic output this year and next will exceed production capacity growth. As a result, overall capacity utilization will increase, with economic output exceeding potential output. Gross Domestic Product is likely to grow by 1.9 percent this year and by 2 percent in 2018 (calendar-adjusted: 2.2 and 2.1 percent, respectively).
Read press release