The number of overtime hours paid in Germany in 2003 hit its lowest point since reunification. Employees averaged 44.6 paid overtime hours last year, while in 2002 they averaged 47 hours, according to the Institute for Labor Market and Occupational Research. In all, there were 1.53 billion overtime hours paid, compared to 1.63 billion in 2002. One reason for the decline is the increased use of comp time, said the institute's Eugen Spitznagel. Another reason is the poor state of the economy.