Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 97 (June 1947)
Szymczak, M. S.
The United States' stake in German economic recovery, pp. 13-18 PDF (3.9 MB)
percent of 1936-a year of virtually full employment in Germany. With the exception of lumber, the produc- tion of all commodities is below the 1936 figure, but by 1948 prewar out- put is expected to be reached in a number of important industries. In the British zone, industrial produc- tion had recovered last fall to only 38 percent of 1936. The British zone includes heavy industries, most of which are under severe restrictions as possible war industries, while the American Zone contains mainly light industries, manufacturing consumer goods. Unfortunately, the exceptional se- verity of the last winter has undone some of the progress experienced during the preceding year. Industrial production in the American Zone fell in December to 39 percent, in January to 31 percent, and in February 29 per- cent of 1936. In March it recovered to 35 percent, but this level still is about one-fifth below the peak of November 1946. In spite of the low level of produc- tion there is little unemployment. Even in February 1947, unemploy- ment in the American Zone was less than 450,000 out of a labor of more than seven million. Only in the white- collar classes is the number of job openings constantly smaller than that of job seekers. This is the result of three-facts. The labor force has been greatly reduced by war losses and by the Allied retention of a large num- ber of prisoners of war in some coun- tries. Secondly, much labor is needed for work, such as removal of rubble and plant repair, which does not show in production statistics but neverthe- less is vital for resumption of econo- mic activity. Thirdly, for physical and psychological reasons, the pro- ductivity of labor has fallen consid- erably, in some cases by as much as two-thirds. The gradual revival of economic activity, more food, housing facilities, and improved avail- ability of industrial consumer goods will do much to remove the causes of low efficiency. Housing Next to food, housing accommoda- tions are the most pressing require- ments of the German people. Despite all war losses, the population of the American and British Zones has risen Imports* Country from Germany Germany's Trade in 1936 The importance of GeTmany for continental Europe is indicated by the following table, showing Germany's trade in 1936 with some of the leading European countries. Percent of total imports 23.3 26.4 7.0 23.9 24.8 25.3 11.5 22.8 17.5 17.6 16.9 45.1 39.0 25.8 * -In millions of dollars. Netherlands . Italy. France. Sweden. Switzerland Denmark. Belgium. Soviet Union . Czechoslovakia Norway. Austria. Turkey Rumania. Hungary . by around 20 percent in comparison to prewar, mainly because of the inflow of Germans expelled from the area under Polish administration and from Czechoslovakia and other eastern European countries. At the same time, urban housing suffered from terrific bomb damage during the war, especially in the industrial and com- mercial centers. In Bremen, for in- stance, 55 percent of all homes were unusable in the summer of 1945. Reconstruction has been hampered by the scarcity of building materials, which in turn is due largely to the lack of coal: approximately 12.5 tons of coal are needed for producing the material necessary to build a small apartment. Allied legislation provi- des for the equitable distribution of available housing among the popu- lation, but this measure can bring only small relief since the complete equalization of all housing would only provide around 80 square feet per person in the American, and less than 70 square feet per person in the British Zone. Improvement in housing conditions is particularly needed in the Ruhr district since the inflow of additional miners from the Southern area of our combined zones, required to fulfill 151 116 106 99 92 83 82 62 55 41 40 34 33 33 the program of output expansion, depends upon the availability of homes. A short range program has been and a long range is being pre- pared to provide additional housing, including temporary camps and bil- lets and permanent reconstruction. In addition to building material, beds, bedding, and furniture must be pro- duced. While Military Government plays an important role in drafting the program, its execution is entrust- ed to the German authorities. Mili- tary Government has helped in that task by reducing to a minimum the requirements for military installa- tions. Domestic Trade and Transportation Despite the interdependence of the four zones of occupation, interzonal trade has been slow to develop lar- gely because of the lack of economic unification. Since January of this year, trade between the American and British Zones has been free, as the result of the economic merger of these zones, and trade between the merged zones and the rest of Ger- many will be increased under agree- ments concluded among the zonal authorities. Until and unless the over- Exports* to Germany 74 77 40 61 51 62 69 23 45 23 29 48 30 35 Percent of. total exports 15.7 19.5 4.3 15.8 19.4 20.3 10.4 8.5 14.3 13.2 16.1 51.0 21.1 23.1 WEEKLY INFORMATION BULLETIN 16 JUNE -1947 15 .- I
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