BERLIN, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Germany's labor market fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic as the number of people in employment exceeded pre-crisis levels again in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022, the country's statistical office reported on Wednesday.
In Q1, the total number of employees in the country grew to 45.1 million, slightly above the figure registered in the fourth quarter of 2019, i.e. just before pandemic-related restrictions hit the German economy for the first time, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) said.
"With the spring revival and the easing of the COVID-19 measures, the recovery in the labor market continues," said Detlef Scheele, head of the Federal Employment Agency (BA). However, the positive trend would be slowed down by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Although the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) also saw great risks in a "possible further geopolitical escalation of the crisis or an energy supply freeze," its forward-looking indicator for the German labor market continued to rise and remained at a "very high level" at 106.1 points in April.
The general upward trend in the German labor market and the COVID-19 recovery currently appear to be "strong enough to overshadow dampening effects" due to the economic consequences of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, said IAB forecasting expert Enzo Weber.
At the same time, there is an acute shortage of skilled labor in Germany. According to Hubertus Heil, minister of labor and social affairs, the country was making efforts to make the recognition of Ukrainian refugees' work qualifications easier.