Pandemic hitting German wages harder than financial crisis

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Germans’ nominal earnings fell for the first time in over a decade, the statistics office said on Wednesday, releasing data that showed the coronavirus pandemic having a more severe impact on earnings than the 2007/08 financial crisis.

Preliminary data showed nominal earnings had shrunk by 0.6% in 2020, the first contraction since the data series began in 2007. In inflation-adjusted real terms, earnings fell 1%, the first contraction since 2013.

Months of lockdown aimed at containing the spread of the virus have had a devastating impact on the global economy, and Europe’s largest economy, with its heavy reliance on exports, has not been spared.

The numbers do not reflect the impact of the government’s job-perserving short-time work scheme, under which the state partially makes up the lost earnings of workers placed on reduced hours by their employers. 

Main Photo: A carnival float depicting a grim grinning corona virus (L) and and a sad crying carnival virus (R) is prepared on Rose Monday in Duesseldorf, Germany, 15 February 2021. Rose Monday is the traditional highlight of the street carnival season in many German cities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the parade was officially cancelled. The carnival floats were driven through the city center to avoid a gathering of bigger groups of spectators. EPA-EFE/FRIEDEMANN VOGEL

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