Germany's Tightening Labor Market Might Spell More Trade Trouble

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(Bloomberg) -- Germany is facing a trade hurdle of its own to add to the global protectionist spats burdening Europe’s largest economy.

Companies operating in the nation’s trade sector increasingly point to a shortage of qualified workers as a constraint, according to the country’s Ifo Institute. After unemployment has been steadily declining for years -- currently at a record-low of 5.3 percent -- firms are having difficulty filling open positions, particularly those dealing with investment goods and machinery.

The dilemma comes on top of brewing trade disputes on a global level, which have seen the U.S. threaten to raise tariffs for certain goods and countries. Germany’s economy is strongly reliant on exports and net trade was the main driver of the country’s expansion at the end of last year.

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