German workers on short-time work falls to lowest level since Feb 2020

Closed shop is seen in Cologne
A man walks along a closed shop at the main shopping street Hohe Strasse amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Cologne, Germany, March 18, 2021. Picture taken March 18, 2021. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/Files

July 6, 2021

BERLIN (Reuters) – The number of employees put on short-time work schemes in Germany fell to 1.5 million people in June, the lowest level since February 2020, as easing COVID-19 restrictions boosted demand for jobs, the Ifo institute said on Tuesday.

This represented 4.5% of overall employees after 6.8% in May, Ifo said, adding that the estimate was based on a business survey and data from the Federal Labour Office.

In the hospitality sector, the number of people on the schemes fell to 331,000 in June from 520,000 in May, Ifo said, adding that more than 30% of staff in the sector were still on short-time work.

Ifo said supply bottlenecks for raw materials have not yet impacted on the number of short-time workers in the industry.

Short-time work allows employers to switch staff onto shorter working hours during an economic downturn to keep them on the payroll. It aims to prevent shocks such as the coronavirus crisis leading to mass unemployment.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Caroline Copley)