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Delayed Hope for Construction Industry

Germany’s suffering construction industry is finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but hopes for recovery have been postponed to beyond 2005. According to a federal association for construction firms (BVB), the amount of investment in construction for 2004 is set to sink only slightly in 2004. “We hope that in 2005, we will finally reach the bottom of the valley,” said BVB head Heinz-Werner Bonjean. He estimated that 160,000 jobs were lost in the construction industry this year, and said another 74,000 could be axed in 2004. But the BVB said there are hopes for recovery, not least because Germans have applied for an unusually high number of building permits in order to capitalise on government subsidies for home-builders before those funds are cut.