BERLIN (Reuters) - The COVID-19 pandemic and measures imposed by the government to slow the spread of the coronavirus are hurting the skilled trades sector, which expects sales to drop this year for the first time since 2013, the ZDH association said on Thursday.
"The partial lockdown is also hitting many craft businesses hard," ZDH President Peter Wollseifer told Reuters, adding that many companies were struggling with weaker demand and sales.
"The order backlog is largely well below the level that is otherwise typical for the time of year," he added.
The ZDH association expects nominal sales in the skilled trades sector to fall by 4% this year. That would be the first sales drop in seven years.
Liquidity at many small firms has deteriorated since the start of the partial lockdown on Nov. 2 which forced bars, restaurants and entertainment venues to close until the end of the month, Wollseifer said.
"For many companies, the financial perspective is uncertain. Almost every second company expects increasing financial bottlenecks," he added.
Germany's ZDB construction association said on Tuesday it expected nominal sales to fall for the first time in more than a decade next year as companies in Europe's largest economy are scaling back building activity due to the pandemic.
(Reporting by Klaus Lauer and Michael Nienaber; Editing by Michelle Adair)