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Pandemic hitting German wages harder than financial crisis

Heavy snowfall in Germany

BERLIN (Reuters) – 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.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; editing by Thomas Seythal)

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