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German Mid-Sized Firms to Hire Even as Growth Stalls, Poll Shows

Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) -- German small and medium-sized companies plan to hire more employees next year, even as most of them expect the economy to stagnate, because skilled labor is scarce, a poll of more than 3,000 companies showed.

A total of 32 percent of Mittelstand companies plan to hire workers compared with 9 percent that intend to cut staff, the BVMW lobby of medium-sized companies said today in Berlin. Seventy-two percent of companies expect the economy to stagnate while 17 percent anticipate an upswing and 11 percent foresee a recession, said the BVMW, which represents 150,000 companies.

“There is an acute lack of skilled labor in Germany,” BVMW president Mario Ohoven told reporters in Berlin. “Every third business can’t find suitable labor for vacant jobs.”

Germany’s jobless rate is still close to a two-decade low, helping to fuel household spending and temper the economic slowdown. The Bundesbank said this month it expects the German economy to grow next year after a contraction in the fourth quarter.

The number of people without a job fell by 1,874 in unadjusted terms to 2.75 million, or 6.5 percent, in November, the Federal Labor Agency in Nuremberg said Nov. 29. Ohoven said hiring by mid-sized companies will help keep the number of unemployed below 3 million next year and predicted growth of as much as 1 percent.

Of the 3,300 companies polled between Dec. 7 and Dec. 21, 45 percent had as many as 9 employees, 31 percent had between 10 and 49 workers and 24 percent employed 50 people or more, the BVMW said.

CDU Leads

Asked which political parties cater most to the needs of medium-sized companies, 49 percent named Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Union bloc, 21 percent preferred its Free Democrat coalition partner, 10 percent voted in favor of the opposition Social Democrats and 7 percent named the opposition Greens.

Merkel is running for a third term in German national elections that will be held in September.

Fifty-three percent of the companies said their business situation will remain the same over the next six months, 28 percent said it will improve and 19 percent said it will worsen, the BVMW said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rainer Buergin in Berlin at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at

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