Economic Recovery: A New Germany Rises

Growth is slow, and jobs are still scarce, but Europe's biggest economy is showing some fragile signs of life. Now consumers have to conquer their fear of the future

Two more decrepit buildings came down in June in Weinbergweg, a leafy suburb of the dismal industrial city of Halle in the former East Germany. In the 1970s, Halle was the G.D.R.'s center for chemical production and one of its most heavily industrialized cities. But 14 years after East Germany's unification with West Germany, the city's chemical factories are closed, and some 75,000 residents--a quarter of the total--have moved away in search of jobs. So many people have left Halle, in fact, that the city is demolishing scores of vacant apartment blocks.

By almost any measure, Halle is the worst...

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