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Recession sparks German angst

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Recession sparks German angst
Photo: DPA
18:18 CEST+02:00
The global economic crisis hasn't affected the German psyche much until now, but a new study released on Friday shows fears about the recession and job loss have surged dramatically.

According to market research institute GfK's new poll of some 12,500 Germans and Europeans, 57 percent named job loss as their number one concern.

The “Challenges in Europe” poll, taken in February and March, showed the first jump in job security fears after several years of other overriding concerns, GfK reported. Last year 53 percent of those polled said job loss was their top concern.

Second on the list of worries was the state of the German economy. In 2008, just seven percent of those polled said the country's economic situation was on their mind. But this year's poll showed a stunning jump to 36 percent in the same category.

Anxieties of more prosperous times, such as education and retirement care, are becoming less of a concern as the question of basic survival troubles Germans, GfK said. In 2008, 23 percent of poll participants said they were worried about retirement. In 2009, just nine percent were looking that far ahead.

As if to confirm the fears expressed in GfK study, the German industrial group ThyssenKrupp said on Friday it would shed 1,800-2,000 German posts by 2011 in its steel division.

The group would avoid outright firings, board member Dieter Kroll said in an interview to appear in the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. The reductions would concern seven German sites and take place by the end of September 2010, the group added in a statement.

"We adhere to principle of avoiding layoffs," personnel director Dieter Kroll told the daily.

Anticipated retirements, voluntary departures and internal reassignments would account for the reductions, he added.

ThyssenKrupp employs more than 40,000 people worldwide, and its statement said the move was taken to deal with "the dramatic global economic slump since late 2008 which has hit ThyssenKrupp Steel's activities hard."

More than 15,000 workers are already on short-time work schemes but that has not been enough enough to compensate for surplus capacity at the group. The move is part of a larger reorganisation of ThyssenKrupp, which also manufactures elevators, automobile assembly lines and ships.

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