Germans satisfied as they were before the crisis

Dhe corona crisis seems to have lost its worst horror in Germany. Not only is a Covid disease less of a physical threat than it was in winter, the pandemic also hardly affects the mood. This is indicated by current survey data from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, which is available to the FAZ.

Johannes Pennekamp

Responsible editor for economic reporting, responsible for “Die Lounge”.

On a ten-point scale, the satisfaction rating fell from 7.2 in August 2020 to 6.1 in April 2021. At the beginning of July, the value jumped back to 7.0, which roughly corresponds to the pre-crisis level. “The recovery of satisfaction was extremely fast this year, compared to the end of the first wave last year,” says Marburg sociologist Martin Schröder, who analyzed the data.

The answers of 520 people who were repeatedly questioned by Hamburg researchers Anne Runde and Gregor Leicht during the pandemic show that the Germans have recovered from the pandemic and the lockdown. The data does not reflect whether the declining corona risk, vaccination progress or the economic upturn are primarily responsible for the recovery.

Image: FAZ

A comparison shows how serious the low mood during the Corona crisis was: The loss of life satisfaction was twice as bad as becoming unemployed, which, according to research, is one of the worst strokes of fate ever. Survey data from the socio-economic panel also show that the Germans also felt extremely lonely on average during both lockdowns, so the feeling of being unhappy was even more widespread in the second lockdown than in the first. Doctors and psychologists sounded the alarm, especially in the second lockdown, because the number of patients with mental health problems had risen sharply. Young people were particularly affected.

The Germans are getting happier again

The steep rise to 7 points is all the more gratifying, which corresponds to a greater leap in luck than when people get married, says Schröder. The researcher suspects that satisfaction will rise a little further over the next few weeks and will level off at the high level it had before the crisis.

In the long term, people in Germany will be more and more satisfied anyway. Between 2005 and 2019, life satisfaction, accompanied by a long economic upswing, had risen steadily, and the financial crisis of 2008/2009 hadn’t changed that either.

And now, too, the recovery goes hand in hand with the economic upturn: the number of unemployed fell significantly in June to just 2.6 million people. Many short-time workers have returned to their jobs and companies are hiring again. According to the Federal Employment Agency, there are still around 400,000 more unemployed than before the crisis, but the recovery is proceeding at record speed. And the mood indicators in the economy are all pointing upwards. Most economic researchers assume that economic output will return to pre-crisis levels in the current third quarter.

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The prerequisite for all of this is that there is no fourth wave. Because last summer, too, the satisfaction values ​​shot up before disillusionment set in again. Especially for people who do not get vaccinated, the increase in satisfaction in the event of a new wave could turn out to be a “bubble” this year, says sociologist Schröder.



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