“This level of work was only topped shortly after reunification, during the boom that came then,” said Wolfgang Braun, from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB).
Compared with the first quarter of last year, the number of hours worked went up by 2.3 percent to reach 15.024 billion.
IAB researchers Eugen Spitznagel and Ines Zapf said the increase was largely due to the rise in the number of people working – which went up by 1.5 percent in this quarter over the same period last year to reach 41.143 million.
But each worker is also putting in longer hours, they said – at least partly due to the fact that there were fewer bank holidays year than last year.
The official weekly work hour total was just under 38, almost the same as last year, while the number of paid overtime hours actually dropped slightly.
“This reduction could be an early sign of a slower pace of the economy,” the researchers said.