Daily Video

February 10, 2012

What’s Germany’s Economic Secret to Success?

Amid the financial crisis that has plagued much of Europe since the global economic recession began in 2008, Germany has been the biggest success story. Its manufacturing sector continues to be strong, and its unemployment rate is the lowest in Europe.

What’s the secret? Germans say it’s innovation and demand for their products. German manufacturers continue to produce one-of-a-kind technologies, such as a massive drilling machine that adjusts to the substance it’s drilling through, that aren’t being produced anywhere else. And, instead of laying people off during the recession, many German companies just cut back everyone’s hours until their business could recover. And, they continue to promote apprenticeship programs so young people can learn a trade and get a job.

But, Germany’s success is turning out to be a double-edged sword – because of its status as the economic leader of the European Union, it is on the hook to bail out struggling countries like Greece so the entire EU economic system doesn’t collapse.


“I applied for training because, yeah, I like the mechanical work, and not only the theoretical stuff at school. It’s so always the same at school, and you don’t know what do you need math for in your life later.” – Simon Richter, 19, manufacturing apprentice

“No yachting, no, no horses, no racing cars and stuff like that. And that’s why usually we have enough money to reinvest with our money for research and development and buildings and acquisitions and so on and so forth.” – CEO, Trumpf manufacturing

Warm Up Questions

1. Where is Germany? What do you know about Germany?

2. What happened to the global economy in 2008? Why does it matter?

3. What is the European Union?

Discussion Questions

1. Based on what you saw in the video, why is Germany’s unemployment low and its economy successful?

2. Why did one manufacturer in the video say that he would prefer that EU countries stay on the Euro currency? Why would it be difficult to do business in Europe with many different currencies?

3. Would you enjoy having an apprenticeship like the young man interviewed in the video? Why or why not?

Additional Resources

Video Transcript

Greece at Center of Europe’s Economic Crisis

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