German workers tally record 61 billion hours | News | DW | 05.03.2019

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German workers tally record 61 billion hours

German workers did more hours in 2018 than the last record number of 60.3 billion just after reunification. But their total hours at work are well below the OECD average.

Ten years on from the global financial crisis, German workers tallied up a record 61.1 billion work hours in 2018, a 1.4 percent increase on the previous year, according to a report from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB).

The last time that number got close to the new record was 1991, at 60.3 billion hours.

The number of people employed also reached a new high of 44.8 million last year. "We are really not running out of work, despite claims to the contrary,” said Enzo Weber, head of macroeconomics at IAB.

The average time at work also increased last year, partly due to the trend towards more full-time work and fewer short contracts Weber said.

Mexican workers top the list

But if OECD figures are anything to go by, Germany might be challenging common assumptions about hours worked. OECD data from that year showed German workers averaged 1,356 hours actually worked per year while Mexican workers toiled for an average 2,257 in 2017. The OECD average was 1,744 hours. 

Productivity and wages are also not evenly balanced across Germany with eastern states still lagging behind the west, three decades after reunification.

ta/jm (Reuters, dpa)

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