The labor force in Germany worked a total of 58.1 billion hours in 2013 and thus attained its highest level over the past 20 years, the Institute for Labour Market and Employment Research (IAB) reported on Wednesday. The IAB said that the working volume has risen by 0.2 percent in 2013 over the previous year. The institute attributed the growth to the increased number of people in employment "In anticipation of an economic rebound last year, the companies continued to increase employment, even though the order books were only moderately filled," said Enzo Weber, head of Research Department "Forecasts and Structural Analysis" at IAB. The employment in Germany had increased in 2013 by 0.6 percent and reached a new high of 41.8 million people, according to IAB. Unlike the total volume of work, the average annual working time of the labor force declined by 0.4 percent to 1,388 hours in 2013, the IAB said. Excluding self-employed persons and contributing family workers, the annual working hours of the employees fell by 0.3 percent from 1,316 hours to 1,313 hours . While full-time employees worked in 2013 an average of 1,640 hours, part-time employees only worked 637 hours. On an annual average, absenteeism in 2013 was at 3.72 percent, slightly higher than the 3.59-percent level in 2012, said the IAB.