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For Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thüringen, the Landesverband Ost (Regional Association East) recorded a capacity utilization of at least 90% for the majority of respondents, while 91% of companies considered the current economic situation to be very good or good – after some strong years of growth. “We had not expected this dynamism to continue so strongly because of the growing obstacles to trade”, comments Reinhard Pätz , Managing Director of VDMA Ost in connection with the US trade battle.

The fly in the ointment was predictable, however: eastern German mechanical engineering companies are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit well-qualified technical staff. Although 38% of companies are intending to appoint new staff, four out of five firms report difficulties in filling vacancies. By contrast, the south-west of Germany is currently enjoying an above-average increase in staff numbers, according to an economic survey : 3.2% in 2017, to a total of over 318,000 employees in mechanical engineering in Baden Württemberg. The fact that this is possible in times of such a striking shortage of technical staff tells us something about the appeal of BW as a location. By contrast, the east feels “at a disadvantage because of a comparatively unattractive infrastructure”. But the south-west has a more cautious view of the situation as far as orders are concerned; “only” 77% of the companies there describe it as good or very good.