An economy growing strongly, an epoch-shaping tax reform in the making and optimism all around: the annual survey of German firms in the US records extreme levels of confidence, but also highlights some caveats.
German businesses are a major player in the US market. They account for 700,000 jobs and they invest heavily. More than ever they are set to expand their business by mergers and acquisitions, as the German American Business Outlook 2018 shows. The survey was conducted by German American Chambers of Commerce, the Representative of German Industry & Trade and KPMG.
That thinking is overwhelmingly optimistic. All of the 133 companies surveyed expect to grow their business next year. Only two percent expect the US economy to shrink.
However, the shortage of labor is starting to take hold. The German businesses are increasingly turning to self-help, expanding to the US the apprenticeship system that is the backbone of Germany’s strong engineering tradition.
“The apprenticeship model works very well with US employers. Instead of paying a fortune to get a university or college degree, many German companies offer practice-oriented education, which shape highly skilled professionals”, says Andreas Glunz, managing partner at KPMG in Germany.
Another threat that is harder to counter but also less imminent is protectionism. 76 percent stated that open markets are very or rather important to their supply chain.
“The business prospects are excellent so far, but a protectionist agenda could cause trouble”, says Andreas Glunz.
Download the German American Business Outlook 2018: