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Pandemic meets handicraft Hairdressers are suffering – bicycle workshops are celebrating The German handicrafts clearly felt the consequences of the pandemic at the beginning of the year. Most of the sales fell. But there were also a few bright spots.

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A man repairs a bicycle in a bicycle repair shop. | picture alliance / Zoonar

Pandemic meets craft Hairdressers suffer – bicycle workshops cheer

Status: 11.06.2021 2:38 p.m.

The German trade clearly felt the consequences of the pandemic at the beginning of the year. Most of the sales fell. But there were also a few bright spots. The corona crisis has left deep marks on German craftsmanship. Some areas suffered particularly badly at the beginning of the year, while others bucked the trend and even posted gains. According to calculations by the Federal Statistical Office, sales in the craft sector fell from January to March by 7.5 percent compared to the same period of the previous year. That was the first time in eight years that the industry, which had been spoiled for success for a long time, posted declines. The weak development was accompanied by fewer staff. The number of employees in the skilled trades that required a license fell by 1.7 percent by the end of March.

The comparative period was hardly affected by the crisis

It should be noted that restrictions due to the corona pandemic did not begin until the end of the first quarter of 2020 and the results of the beginning of 2020 were hardly affected, the statisticians explained. There is thus a typical case of a so-called base effect. A high baseline makes declines more likely at a later point in time.

Lockdown slows demand

Crafts for private use were particularly hard hit. Here the minus was 23 percent. In this area, the hairdressing businesses marked the highest decline with minus 37 percent.

Not enough material

In construction, too, with a decline of almost 16 percent, things did not go well. “Companies have to register short-time working when the order books are full because they have no material,” the President of the Central Association of German Crafts (ZDH), Hans Peter Wollseifer, had only recently warned. The Prices for wood and other building materials have risen sharply on the world market, partly because of the great demand from China and the USA. While the food industry complained about a decline of almost ten percent, the business in confectioneries collapsed by 21 percent.

The bicycle boom drives business

The ongoing bicycle boom apparently brought the two-wheel mechanics significantly more repairs. These branches of industry achieved almost 27 percent more sales than a year ago. In addition, only roller shutter technicians and dental technicians recorded an increase in sales.