Question: How Important Is A Rising Population For Economic Growth

Posted By on March 10, 2011

Answer: Countries don’t grow without immigration and rising populations….and Germany is going the wrong way.  They’re not alone on this.

BERLIN   Germany, already grappling with one of Europe’s fastest aging and shrinking populations, faces a growing shortage of skilled labor for another, more immediate reason: stepped-up recruiting from abroad for the country’s top engineering and scientific talent.

Since 2008, more people have been emigrating from Germany than flocking to it, reversing decades of migration inflows to Europe’s biggest economic engine. Demographic analysts say engineers, scientists, doctors and other highly skilled workers make up a disproportionate share of the retreat.

In contrast, Germany’s tough immigration laws, a rigid labor code and more inward-looking hiring practices have kept it from importing enough skilled labor to compensate.

What’s of particular concern to German political and business leaders is that many of those leaving hark from the cutting-edge sectors that Germany views as crucial to safeguarding its export advantage, such as nanotechnology, electrical engineering, biotechnology and clean technologies. Unless it can stanch the flow, they argue, the country’s economy is at risk.

“We all have to be clear on how potentially explosive this labor shortage is,” German Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in a recent German newspaper interview.

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