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German unemployment up, skilled worker shortage a problem


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German unemployment up, skilled worker shortage a problem

Slightly more people were out of work in Germany in August than a month ago, but the unemployment rate was just 6.8 percent of the workforce – near its lowest in two decades.

Joblessness rose by some 7,000 to 2.943 million in seasonally adjusted terms.

It was the first rise in the total since May and the Federal Labour Agency blamed a hiring lull due to the summer holiday.

A lack of skilled workers remains a problem and Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen explained the efforts there: “More older people are working. The participation of women in the workforce and immigration of skilled workers is also progressing well, but does need to be expanded.”

Germany has been focusing on getting older workers back into the workforce, along with women and migrants to address the skills shortage.

With low birthrates, it is estimated the country will lack around 5.5 million skilled workers by 2025.

Training programmes are bringing in students from countries with high unemployment such as Spain.

Alberto Coronado, the project coordinator at one such programme for heating engineers near Frankfurt, said it is a win-win situation: “Young people in Spain don’t know where to go, they have no future. And that’s why we think this is a way to help with the problems in Spain and address the future shortage of skilled labour here.”

A recent survey of small and medium sized German companies by consultants Ernst and Young reported they are finding it difficult to fill jobs with qualified workers.

It is calculated that is costing those businesses around 33 billion euros a year in lost revenues.

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