An employee fits a wheel to a Mercedes-Benz C-Class automobile on the assembly line at the luxury automaker’s factory in Bremen, Germany. (Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)

Germans Are Working Longer Hours But Becoming Less Efficient

(Bloomberg) -- Germans are spending more time than ever at work, but their renowned efficiency is slipping, creating concerns that the hiring frenzy in Europe’s biggest economy may be overdone.

Amid record-low unemployment, Germans worked 15.64 billion hours in the third quarter, according to figures from the IAB Institute for Employment Research published Tuesday. That was the most since the group began collecting data for reunited Germany in 1991.

Germans Are Working Longer Hours But Becoming Less Efficient

However, productivity shrank 0.4 percent compared with the second quarter, the third straight decline. Enzo Weber, an IAB analyst, said Germany’s aging population means an economic model that relies on expanding employment is no longer viable.

“What we urgently need is quality, not quantity,” Weber said. Increased investment in on-the-job training, especially among workers at the lower end of the pay scale, is key, he added.

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