Image default

Was sickness pushing Germany into recession?

Without the high level of sickness, the German economy would obviously have grown and not shrunk in 2023. This is the result of a study by the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies.

According to an analysis, the record high number of sick people last year pushed the German economy into recession. “Significant loss of work led to considerable losses in production – without the above-average sick days, the German economy would have grown by almost 0.5 percent,” says a study by the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (VFA). was available in advance. Instead, the economy shrank by 0.3 percent.

“Germany is the 'sick man' in the truest sense”

“The economic consequences of high levels of sick leave are considerable and lead to a significant loss of value added,” write the authors of the study, Claus Michelsen and Simon Junker. “If sick leave had not been so high again, around 26 billion euros would have been generated additionally in 2023.”

In addition, the insurance companies have lost five billion euros due to the enormous sickness absence in the last two years. In addition, it led to tax revenue shortfalls of 15 billion euros.

In particular, the comparison of economic developments in an international context puts them in a different light, according to the researchers. “At least in 2023, Germany is in the truest sense of the word the 'sick man', whose economic performance will be significantly more affected by the wave of illnesses than in other countries.”

Investments in health and preventive measures required

In order to reduce the consequences of waves of illness and strengthen economic performance, investments in health and preventative measures are sensible and important, the study continues. If the sickness levels observed over the past two years were the new normal, the German economy would have around 350,000 fewer employees available.

According to the analysis, sickness rates are different in different industries. Due to the size of the respective industries, around 70 percent of the production loss occurred in vehicle construction, mechanical engineering, metal, electrical, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Sickness rates were highest in metal production at 6.8 percent.

On average, employees were absent from work for 20 days last year, as the health insurance company DAK-Gesundheit reported last week. According to their evaluation, the sickness rate once again reached the record level of 5.5 percent as in 2022. The high levels of absenteeism affected the work processes of many companies and authorities, especially when the staffing level became increasingly thin due to a shortage of skilled workers, emphasized Andreas Storm, head of the cash register. Long-term cases in particular are a major problem for the economy.

Main reasons for sick leave are colds and mental illnesses

The largest statutory health insurance company, the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), confirmed the exceptionally high rate of absenteeism among employees in 2023. These were significantly above the level of the years before the corona pandemic, as they explained to the newspapers of the Funke media group, citing their data . As a result, each insured employee at TK was on sick leave for an average of 19.4 days.

“As in the previous year, the main reason for the high level of absenteeism is sick leave due to colds such as flu infections, bronchitis or influenza. They account for more than a quarter of the absenteeism days,” said Jens Baas, CEO of TK, to the Funke newspapers. On average, each employed person was absent 5.11 days due to colds.

Before the corona pandemic, employees were only on sick leave for 2.37 days. The second most common absences were due to mental illness, with an average of 3.6 days per year. The DAK also reported on one: Mental illnesses such as depression led to 323 days of absence per 100 insured people.

Related posts

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.