BERLIN, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Employment in Germany continued to rise in the second quarter (Q2) of this year, after already surpassing pre-COVID-19 levels in the previous quarter, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) said on Thursday.
The number of people in employment rose by 664,000 year on year, or 1.5 percent, to around 45.5 million, according to Destatis. Annual growth rates were as high as in the first quarter of the year.
Although employment figures grew by 0.7 percent over the previous quarter, the "spring upturn" reflected in this increase was below the average of the pre-pandemic years 2017 to 2019, Destatis noted.
Trade, transport and hospitality companies recorded the largest absolute gain in employment, up 2.5 percent, or 241,000, year on year. The sectors had been hit particularly hard by closures and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the rise in employment, skilled labor shortages in many German industries have worsened. Almost one in two companies was affected, the highest level ever recorded, according to a recent company survey by the Munich-based ifo Institute.
"In the medium and long term, this problem is likely to become more severe," said ifo labor market expert Stefan Sauer.
Already, the country's public sector is lacking 360,000 employees, according to the German Civil Service Federation (dbb). The figure was "only a snapshot," warned dbb chairman Ulrich Silberbach.
"In the next few years, the number will be much larger due to the retirement of the baby boomer generation," Silberbach told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Thursday.