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The German staffing market has shown signs of a slowdown for over a year, according to the latest statistics by the federal agency (BA). The number of agency workers has been on the decline since early 2012 while overall employment levels have increased.
The report indicates that companies continued to cut back on agency staff in the fourth quarter of 2012 and a further seasonal decline is expected for January. The German staffing market has fluctuated last year with the latest figures showing the number of temporary agency workers fell by nearly -15% to 804,000 in November 2012 from 944,000 a year ago
The agency said that demand for staff has overall declined although the labour market still shows “high levels” of activity. Skilled workers remain sought after, particularly in the energy, metal, electrical and automobile industry.
Elsewhere the German economy, Europe’s largest, is showing signs of a recovery as the unemployment rate unexpectedly declined last month. The number of jobless people fell a seasonally adjusted 16,000 to 2.92 million, the agency reported on Thursday.
But analysts remain cautious. “The German labour market convinced with a distinct robustness in the second half of last year and the beginning of this year,” said Heinrich Bayer, an economist at Postbank Research. “No debt crisis, no economic weakness can hurt it. But it’s too early to sound the all clear because the labour market reacts with delay to economic developments. Unemployment could still rise.”
Subscribers to Staffing Industry Analysts’ research can view the latest staffing market forecasts for Germany by clicking here.