Surging exports helped power the German economy to record expansion in the second quarter.
Exports were up by 8.2 percent compared to the first three months of the year.
But more importantly there was a return to growth in consumer spending for the first time in a year – it was up 0.6 percent.
Overall gross domestic product rose by 2.2 percent, that was the fastest quarterly growth rate seen since East and West Germany reunified.
The return to growth in private consumption suggests the economy could keep expanding in the second half of the year even if the increase in exports fades.
The broad-based recovery puts Europe’s largest economy well ahead of others in the region.
But as the figures were announced, government ministers and business leaders were holding a mini summit in Berlin to discuss the growing problem of a shortage of skilled labour, essential for continued economic growth.
The German Labour Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “The apparent lack of skilled workers can be seen as a problem. But it can also be considered a very big opportunity: An opportunity for people who so far have had difficulties finding jobs and who have been forced to work far below their potential.”
The summit participants agreed on the need for improved training for Germans, but conceded the country also has to attract skilled foreign workers.
A survey by the German Chambers or Industry and Commerce found 70 percent of German companies have difficulty filling vacancies.