Jobless numbers set to leap in summer

The finance crisis will lead to a wave of job losses this summer, economics experts are warning, while many firms will cut hours and shifts first in a bid to stave off the inevitable.

Jobless numbers set to leap in summer

Kai Carstensen, economy expert at the Munich Ifo economics institute told news website says he expects up to 700,000 job losses during 2009 – a clear increase from previous estimates of around 500,000.

“Many companies are already starting shorter working days. But we expect a sudden increase in unemployment from the summer,” he said.

He said a third of companies were looking to reduce the number of employees.

The German Institute for Economics called for a slackening of rules governing employment to get rid of the minimum employment time.

He said an increase in unemployment could be expected because employers would not feel confident enough to renew current contracts, which run for a minimum of two years.

They would be more likely to take more people on, or renew contracts, if they were more flexible.

He said, “A more liberal law would help us. But I do not see any willingness among the lawmakers to really do this.”

The federal employment agency is expecting a continued increase in newly-jobless people looking for work.

A spokeswoman told theEuro am Sonntag newspaper, “The trend from January is likely to continue in February and March.”


Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.