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Business

German tool engineering sector generates jobs

Germany's machine tools industry is going from strength to strength despite the eurozone debt crisis. At a two-day summit in Berlin, engineers and policy makers have described the sector as robust and reliable.

Germany's machine tools sector has created tens of thousands of news jobs in the past few months amid a deteriorating global business climate, the president of the National Engineering Federation (VDMA), Thomas Lindner said on Tuesday while opening a two-day summit of the industry in Berlin.

"The engineering sector is in fact the biggest industrial employer in the country," Lindner said in his address to entrepreneurs and policy makers. He added it now employed 974,000 people, up from 931,000 last year.

Lindner maintained small and medium-sized companies formed the backbone of the sector, but he also mentioned the successes of a few big and listed companies such as ThyssenKrupp, Gildemeister and Gea.

Financial crisis a headache

The German Engineering Federation said it was increasingly worried about the protracted sovereign debt crisis on the continent and its likely long-term impact on German exports. Nonetheless, the VDMA said it reckoned with 2.0-percent growth in the sector throughout this year, to be followed by another 2.0-percent expansion in 2013.

"There's absolutely no recession in sight for German engineering, provided the debt crisis doesn't spin out of control," Lindner maintained.

Also speaking at the gathering, German Economics Minister Philipp Rösler agreed that the eurozone crisis had led to a decline in business confidence across the 17-member bloc and caused a delay in crucial investments. He pledged the government in Berlin would do everything in its power to stabilize the single-currency area and provide incentives for economic recovery.

hg/ipj (dapd, Reuters)