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Commerce in Hamburg optimistic about future

Optimism comes despite global insecurity, analysis by Chamber of Commerce, HWWI and WifOR institute finds

Hamburg’s economy is faring well despite global insecurity and looking optimistically towards the future, according to Prof. Hans-Jörg Schmidt-Trenz, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hamburg during a joint press conference Thursday with the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) and the economic research institute Wifor based in Darmstadt. “The economic prospects for Hamburg remain favourable, but are still accompanied by structural changes which may have a medium-term, negative impact on the city’s economic growth potential,” said Prof. Henning Vöpel, Director of HWWI.

Most optimistic sectors

According to the latest economic survey by the Chamber of Commerce, the business climate indicator for Hamburg’s economy had risen 3.7 points to 115.8 points by the end of the first quarter of 2017 over the previous survey three months earlier. This was based on assessments of the present and future business situation, which were slightly more positive than at the turn of the year. The property and housing sector, (133.2 points), other service providers (129.2 points), media and IT (125.6 points) were the most optimistic branches.

Biggest risks to business

Despite possible, protectionist measures in the United States, companies in Hamburg expect positive developments in exports over the next 12 months. Some 30.2 per cent of those interviewed expect higher exports and 9.2 per cent expect lower exports (current balance: +21 percentage points; previous quarter: +18.2). The biggest business risks are unfavourable economic framework conditions, according to those interviewed (48.3 per cent), shortage of specialists (41.4 per cent), weaker domestic demand (37.4 per cent) and labour costs (28 per cent). Dr. Sandra Hofmann, Head of Labour Market Research at WifOR, noted: “Commerce in Hamburg lacks around 11,000 specialists at present. This shortage could increase to 60,000 by 2030, according to the latest forecasts.”

Refugee programmes

Commenting on integrating refugees in the labour market, Schmidt-Trenz drew a positive balance of the Chamber of Commerce’s six-point plan. Six special events had also been held on “Hiring and Employing Refugees” and on “Markets for Meetings“ to facilitate contact between refugees and companies. Firms had offered over 1,400 internships, apprenticeships and jobs so far. Commerce in Hamburg had also provided another 1,000 internships mediated by the Chamber of Commerce in the Apprentice Preparation Programme for Migrants (AvM-dual) .

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