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The number of open job vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2012 fell to 1,037,000, according to the latest research by the Institute of Employment Research (IAB). This is a reduction of 90,000 (-8%) compared to the same time a year ago.
A survey of 13,000 employers found that the decline in vacancies strongly affected Western Germany which posted a sharp reduction of vacancies within the course of a year.
“The hesitant demand for labour shows continuing uncertainty of the Western German economy which heavily depends on exports,” said IAB researcher Anja Kettner. This, she said, was due to the European sovereign debt crisis and the generally weak global economic situation.”
The research also showed that small companies “stabilised” labour market conditions, recording a +18% rise in vacancies to 409,000. Medium-sized and large firms posted “considerably” lower demand for workers in the three months to December.
The decline in vacancies hit major sectors, particularly the chemical, plastic and glass industries where vacancies fell by -45%. In the metal and metal products industry vacancies dropped by -36%.
But the hotel and restaurant sector recorded a +23% rise in vacancies, followed by finance and insurance services (+25%). Opportunities also increased for freelancers and those working in academic as well as technical jobs (+26%).