In Germany the number of vacant jobs has surged past 1 million, the latest data show, indicating the economy is gaining strength. Rising labor demand, however, seems set to worsen the country’s skills shortage again.
In the final quarter of 2013, German job vacancies climbed to 1.06 million, rising by 20,000 compared with the same three-month period in 2012, the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) announced Tuesday.
The creation of new jobs had come in spite of German employment numbers already at a record high of 41.8 million in 2013, and was a sign of an economic recovery gaining traction, the IAB announced.
"The demand for labor at the end of 2013 remained at a high level," said Alexander Kubis, a researcher with the IAB, which is a unit of the German Labor Agency.
Unlike most of its eurozone partners, Germany has fared relatively well in recent years, managing to garner weak but stable growth. The jobless rate in Europe's biggest economy has remained stable at about 6.8 percent, far lower than the 12 percent average, reached, for example, in the eurozone in 2013. For 2014, the government expects the number of jobs to rise to 42.1 million in a German population totaling 82 million.
Between October and December 2013, vacancies rose 20 percent in the manufacturing sector alone, the IAB announced. Demand for labor was even higher in the construction industry, climbing by over 50 percent, the institute added. Agriculture, fisheries and the financial sector, however, reported falling vacancies.
The jobs situation at the end of last year is a harbinger for a mounting skills shortage as the German economy is accelerating this year. Already, the country is desperately seeking trained personnel such as engineers, IT specialists and medical staff. This is the result of an aging German population and dwindling birth rates, which a rising number of immigrants has softened but not yet offset.
uhe/mkg (dpa, Reuters)