BERLIN (Reuters) - The German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH) is raising its forecast for revenue growth for 2016 to 3.5 percent from its earlier forecast of 2 percent, predicting further growth of 2.5 percent next year, the Welt newspaper reported on Monday.

The trade group, which represents more than 1 million skilled craft businesses with combined annual revenues of 533 billion euros ($590 billion), told the paper that 92 percent of its members expected positive developments this year.

It said 54 percent see their business outlook as good, up 5 percent from last year.

"The skilled trade economy is at an all-time high," the group's secretary general, Holger Schwannecke, told the newspaper.


The forecast envisages the skilled trade sector growing at nearly double the rate of the overall German economy, which is expected to expand by 1.8 percent in 2016.

Schwannecke said the group saw the predicted revenue growth creating 15,000 new jobs this year and next in the sector, which already employs 5.4 million people.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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