March 20, 2020 / 1:30 PM / 11 days ago

Coronavirus drives surge in short-time work in Germany: labor office

FILE PHOTO: A worker assembles a StreetScooter electric delivery van on the production line during an opening tour in Dueren near Cologne, Germany, May 30, 2018. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of German firms announced this week they would switch employees to shorter work hours due to coronavirus, the Labour Office said on Friday, highlighting the severe impact of the outbreak on the European Union’s biggest economy.

Some 76,700 companies said this week they would apply for state aid that allows them to keep people on but switch them to shorter hours, compared with an average of 600 firms a week last year, the office said.

It added demand for the special facility was particularly high in the states of Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden Wuerttemberg and the transport, hospitality, trade fair and tourism sectors were driving the surge.

Reporting by Joseph Nasr; editing by Scot W. Stevenson

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