Today’s employment statistics show us that the labour market is in good shape and the employment situation in Germany is stable. I am pleased to report that the use of employment and training schemes supported this development. Giving priority to targeted continuing training has produced the desired effect. This is validation that our labour market policies are good and we are making good use of our resources. The challenges however remain unchanged: We must use our sound economic situation in order to also reach those individuals who have not benefitted from the good labour market situation to date. The Federal Government is rightly focussing on getting people out of long-term unemployment by specifically targeting relevant groups. The stable situation on the labour market provides a good foundation for the tasks we have set ourselves. Securing the supply of skilled labour and fostering skilled workers are right at the top of our agenda for a strong, successful economy and an employment market that is stabile and robust not only for the time being but in the long term as well. The situation on the labour market shows us that all the discussions over an imminent flood of early retirees are out of touch with the actual situation in businesses and factories. Companies that thoughtlessly let their older employees go too early will have enormous difficulties finding enough young skilled workers to replace them. Companies are dependent on the expertise and experience of their older employees. I am confident that Germany’s employers have recognised this ‘sign of the times’ and will respond to it correspondingly by acting responsibly.