Germany’s November unemployment figures make disappointing reading for Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s government and the list of company’s shedding staff has just got longer.
Deutsche Bank is the latest. It announced it will cut 1,920 jobs over the next two years. It joins the French telecommunications company Alcatel which has announced it will lay off 550 workers at its German affiliate next year. And the drugmaker Bayer is also planning to reduce its work force in Germany by 440 as part of the restructuring of its global pharmaceutical research and development operations. The latest unemployment figures show that there were 4.257 million Germans out of work in November. That is 10.3% of the working population, compared with 10.1% in the previous month. The rate is now at its highest since December 1998. Companies are cutting jobs and moving production to cheaper countries such as neighbouring Poland and the Czech Republic. Goverment measures to increase hiring, such as cutting taxes and welfare contributions and making it easier for companies to fire people, do not seem to have worked.