· The employment rate for the over 50s has increased by 2.8 points to 47.2% over the past year. Employment rate of the over 60s increased by 3.4 points to 27.5%, 17 points more than in 2000, due mainly to the discontinuation of the government subsidized early retirement program.
· The Federal Statistical Office reports that the GDP has grown 3.0% over all of 2011, thanks mainly to the first quarter, while it even contracted somewhat in the fourth quarter. Both foreign and domestic trade, and especially private consumption (thanks to continually decreased unemployment rates), contributed to the economic growth. Company bankruptcies decreased by 2,000 to some 30,300 in 2011. Outlook for 2012: as many eurozone countries have introduced austerity packages, exports are expected to decrease, which will probably have an adverse effect on the export-oriented German economy, leading to a reduction of investment by 1.5%. So all hope is in domestic consumption, which depends on favorable unemployment figures.
Office of Labour Affairs,Royal Thai Embassy,Berlin,
Federal Republic of Germany