Germany’s public coffers are full but for poorly educated workers, the danger of slipping into poverty is greater now than it was 10 years ago, new data from the country’s Federal Statistical Office has revealed.
The importance of having an education or vocational training in Europe’s largest economy has increased over the last decade, according to a new study that highlighted the ever greater risks of pursuing manual labor to make a living.
Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, known here as Destatis, found that last year, 30.8 percent of low-skilled laborers aged 25 and over were “at risk of poverty or social exclusion.” That starkly contrasts findings from 2005 that showed only 23.1 of people in this demographic as being at risk.
The statisticians define someone as having few or no skills if he or she has not received anything above a high school diploma and lacks training in a specific trade.
The amount of people without a solid educational or vocational background was notably higher in the former East German states, also called the “new Länder.” There, the at-risk-of-poverty rate was 28.6 percent, whereas in western Germany it was 22.3 percent.
Germany chugging along
Overall, around 15 percent of Germans are at risk of falling below the poverty line, defined as a personal monthly net income of 917 euros ($1,050). That rate has remained relatively steady for years, but one group in particular – adults over 25 without much education or skills – is falling further and further behind.
The findings were released two days after other labor market data that illuminated Germans’ working habits. That study, also from Destatis, found that Germans work an average of 45 hours per week – nearly two hours more than 10 years ago.
It also followed reports on the current state of Germany’s economy that showed growth picking up, business confidence rising and public finances moving firmly into the black.
cjc/uhe (dpa, Reuters, AFP, Destatis)