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German employment signals stabilisation despite Covid shock

Berlin, Jan 4 (IANS) Despite the Covid-19 shock, the annual average number of employees in Germany in 2021 remained unchanged from 2020 at 44.9 million, according to provisional figures published by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).

"However, the development differed considerably between the individual economic sectors in 2021," Destatis said in a statement.

The largest employment gains were recorded for public services, education and health (2.2 per cent) and for information and communications (2.4 per cent), reports Xinhua news agency.

The trade, transport and hospitality sectors, on the other hand, suffered major employment losses (minus 1.8 per cent) after a 2.1 per cent drop in 2020.

"Very positive contributions came again from construction," Destatis said, which recorded an increase of 1.2 per cent in employment, showing that the "good situation in the construction industry continues".

Back in 2020, the Covid-19 crisis stopped an upward trend in employment in Germany, which had lasted for over 14 years and had led to a decrease of 370,000 people.

Meanwhile, the growth prospects for Germany's labour market have been worsening due to demographic change.

"The offsetting effect on this development caused by higher labour force participation of the domestic population and the immigration of foreign labour is decreasing," Destatis noted.

Last week, the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) said that unemployment in Germany would rise again slightly over the next few months.

"The Omicron variant continues to prolong the coronavirus crisis. This is particularly critical for long-term unemployment," said Enzo Weber, head of the IAB's research department on forecasts and macroeconomic analyses.