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Wages

Germans' real earnings shrink despite wage hikes

Fresh statistical data have revealed that Germans have less in their pockets to spend on goods and services. Moderate wage increases have been eaten up by rising consumer prices, not only in the third quarter.

Germany's National Statistics Office (Destatis) had some bad news for German employers Thursday, reporting on a decline in people's real earnings in the third quarter.

The agency said real incomes sank at a pace not seen in about four years, with people having 0.3 percent less in their pockets year-on-year.

Destatis explained the drop came despite gross monthly wages rising by an average 1.3 percent in the third quarter, with an inflation rate of 1.6 percent more than just cancelling out any income hikes.

Wage disparities

Do wages in Germany need to rise further?

A look at the first nine months of the year showed that gross wages had increased by 1.4 percent, with consumer prices surging by 1.6 percent.

Destatis indicated there was little hope the picture might change significantly in the final quarter of the current year, meaning Germans would have to put up with less to spend throughout the year, mirroring the situation in the crisis year of 2009.

The fresh figures revealed full-time employees in the banking, insurance and energy sector enjoyed the highest average gross wages, while those in the catering sector brought up the rear.

hg/kms (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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