Exclusive Exclusive: German Firms’ Willingness to Hire Declines, Monthly Ifo Index Shows

The willingness of German companies to hire new people has eased back slightly in January, according to a monthly survey conducted exclusively for Handelsblatt. The employment index of the Munich-based Ifo research institute declined to 109.7 in January, compared with 110.5 in December, which had marked the highest level since 2011. The slight dip in sentiment comes after Germany experienced a major hiring spree in 2015. German unemployment averaged 6.4 percent over the course of the year, its lowest level since re-unification in 1991. About 600,000 jobs were added during the year. The construction sector in particular is likely to hire fewer employees this year, according to Klaus Wohlrabe of the Ifo institute. An employment index for the manufacturing sector also fell to its lowest level in more than a year. The main job motor at the start of 2016 remains the country’s services sector, and especially retail businesses, according to the survey. The Ifo Employment Index is based on a survey of about 9,500 companies in Germany.   Read more in Thursday’s Handelsblatt Global Edition at 12:00 Central European Time.