Germany offers world advice on running an efficient economy

AFP - [email protected] • 15 Apr, 2010 Updated Thu 15 Apr 2010 14:02 CEST
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Germany offered other countries information on how to run their economies in a more efficient fashion on Thursday with the online publication of documents in English on the "German job miracle."

"Germany's labour market and social policy is of keen interest to other countries," Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen said as she announced the new website.

Visitors would be able to read about the system of "Kurzarbeit" ("short-time work"), a system credited with keeping a lid on unemployment in Europe's biggest economy despite its worst recession since 1945, she said.

Other information on the website includes tips on labour law, occupational health and safety, training, pensions, social security, disabled employees, and something called "social Europe and international relations."

"In the current world economic crisis, many are particularly interested in the issue of short-time work. Observers abroad have coined the phrase the German job miracle'," the minister said.

"Kurzarbeit" allows firms to slash their overheads by cutting workers' hours, but government money means that employees still get paid most of their salaries for a limited period of time.

More than a million workers have been covered by the scheme, costing taxpayers some €5 billion last year and a projected €3 billion in 2010.

Since the financial crisis began German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been forthright in singing the praises of the German "social market economy" model and to blame "Anglo-Saxon" excesses for causing it.

Meanwhile Germany's leading economic institutes raised their growth forecast and projecting lower unemployment on Thursday.

For 2010, the five institutes expect a gross domestic product (GDP) expansion of around 1.5 percent, up from their previous projection of 1.2 percent and slightly above the government's forecast of 1.4 percent.

They said the average rate of unemployment was expected to fall to 8.1 percent this year from 8.2 percent in 2009.

"The recovery in the world economy is progressing this spring, gradually recovering from the financial and economic crisis of 2008 and 2009," said the report, one of two published by the institutes annually.

The global recession pushed Germany, the world's second biggest exporter after China, into its worst downturn since World War II last year, with GDP dropping five percent.



AFP 2010/04/15 14:02

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