First decline since 2010: number of industrial employees is shrinking

First decline since 2010
The number of industrial workers is shrinking

Ten years ago, German industry suffered enormously from the financial market and economic crisis, now the Corona crisis is striking. The number of employees is falling, and the number of hours worked also decreases. The metal industry is hardest hit.

The Corona crisis caused the number of employees in German industry to shrink for the first time in ten years in 2020. Manufacturing companies with at least 50 employees employed a good 5.5 million people on average each year. That was 2.2 percent less than in 2019, as the Federal Statistical Office announced. The last time there was a decline was in 2010 as a result of the financial market and economic crisis, which resulted in a decrease of 2.4 percent.

The number of hours worked also decreased last year, by 6.9 percent to just under 7.9 billion. The fees fell by 5.1 percent to 288 billion euros. The export-dependent industry – which suffered from the Corona recession domestically and at major trading partners such as the US, France and the UK – can look forward to better times this year. With the expected recovery of the global economy, the demand for goods "Made in Germany" should also increase.

In December 2020, the number of employees in almost all industries was below the level of the same month of the previous year. It fell the most in metal production and processing, where it fell by 5.8 percent. The mechanical engineering companies (-4.5 percent), the manufacturers of rubber and plastic products (-4.4), the producers of metal products (-3.6) and electrical equipment (-3.5 percent) each reported a minus . There was a 3.2 percent decline in the automotive industry. In contrast, the chemical industry saw an increase of 1.6 percent.

"It should be noted that short-time work counts as employees and therefore changes in short-time work are not reflected in the number of employees," explained the statistical office.

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