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Business

No Break for German Economic Woes

Germany’s dire economic outlook looks set to continue. The country's "Council of Wisemen," five independent academics who advise the government on economic policy, will warn of slower-than-expected growth when they issue their latest annual report on Wednesday.

According to government sources quoted by the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" newspaper in its Monday issue, the council will report growth of just 1 percent in 2003 -- down markedly from the original prognosis of 1.4 percent. But Berlin has been less pessimistic about the chances for economic growth in 2003 and is forecasting a 1.5 percent increase.

The experts more skeptical reckoning stems from a more cautious perception of developments in the German labor market. The government currently forecasts there will be, on average, 4.05 million unemployed people in Germany next year. The country's current number of jobless is just over 3.9 million.