Stalled in your German studies? Picking up the language could be an asset on the job trail. It also might help to take a few engineering classes.

Nearly seven out of 10 German-owned subsidiaries in the U.S. plan to create new jobs next year, according to an annual survey of 1,900 firms by the German American Chambers of Commerce in the U.S.

The German American Business Outlook 2011 revealed widespread optimism among German affiliates at a time when things look anything but rosy for trans-Atlantic business.

The majority of firms said the debt crisis that has embroiled Europe had no impact on their business decisions this year, though a greater number indicated that they were tense about how this would pan out in 2012. In 2011, however, they were plagued more by rising raw material costs and difficulty finding skilled labor in the U.S.

Even with the U.S. unemployment rate hovering over 9 percent, nearly 60 percent of companies had trouble filling open positions, mostly those requiring an engineering or technical background. Nearly half of those that have had trouble took matters in their own hands, instituting in-house training programs.

As for their general economic outlook, German firms were more positive about their own growth than that of the overall economy. Still, only 4 percent predicted a renewed recession in the U.S. Nearly half expected moderate to strong growth in the next year.

Reforming the tax system and strengthening the education system in the U.S. were seen as equally important to long-term economic growth, according to the survey.

Georgia is home to 300 German manufacturing facilities employing more than 12,000 people.

The full results are available at


As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...