LONDON (Reuters) - Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s pro-austerity finance minister, is preparing to quit his job and become head of the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, various sources said on Wednesday.
As the following graphic shows, his time as finance chief starting in 2009 has been one of general improvement for Germany’s economy, if not exactly smooth.
After recovering from the 2007-2008 financial crisis, Germany has put in a series of solid growth years.
Indeed, although the government's projection of 1.5 percent this year would be slower than 2016, it is widely expected to be upgraded soon. Germany's leading economic institutes are expecting 1.9 percent growth this year, the same as in 2016.
With much of the focus of Schaeuble’s term being on growth, inflation - very low but a German fixation nonetheless - and fiscal rectitude, one macro improvement has been fairly neglected.
The unemployment rate since Schaeuble took office has plummeted. It was above 8 percent when he took the reins at the finance minister; the latest reading was 5.7 percent, by far the lowest since Germany’s reunification and some time before that.
GDP per capita is not such a bullish story. After taking off in the immediate post-crisis years, it has levelled off, suggesting Germans may be a bit worse off than they were.
Reporting by Jeremy Gaunt and Michael Nienaber; editing by Mark Heinrich