Germany's per capita gross domestic product (GDP) has for the first time slipped below the European average, according to data published in the latest edition of the British magazine The Economist. It calls the downturn of the German economy "alarming." At the end of the 1980's, Germany's per capita GDP was around 20 percent above the EU average. But now, only four out of 15 EU nations (Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece) have a lower average than Germany. In Ireland, which for a long time had the reputation as the poorhouse of western Europe, per capita GDP is currently 20 percent higher than in Germany, the article said. It blamed part of Germany's decline on the effects of reunification. Due to the relatively poor standard of living in the former East Germany, German per capita GDP sank considerably in 1990, though managing to remain nine percent above average. The Economist concluded that the figures are further evidence that Germany needs to reduce its additional labor costs and cut taxes.