PRAGUE -- A labor shortage is acting as a brake on growth for the Czech car industry, the country's Automotive Industry Association said on Thursday.
"The biggest barrier we are facing is a lack of qualified and unqualified workers," AutoSAP president Martin Jahn said.
AutoSAP said Czech industry as a whole, of which carmakers are a major part, currently needs an additional 52,000 workers.
The Czech car industry, coming off a record year with output of 1.3 million vehicles and expectations of adding to that in 2016, is a major driver for the export-oriented economy, which posted one of the European Union's fastest growth rates in 2015 at 4.3 percent.
Volkswagen's Czech carmaker Skoda is the country's biggest car producer, which is also home to plants run by Hyundai Motor and TPCA, a joint venture of Toyota Motor Corp. and PSA Group.
Car plants and parts makers employ more than 115,000 people, according to data from AutoSAP, which represents about 90 percent of the total sector.
Jahn said the state needed to do more to make it easier to bring in foreign workers and re-train Czech workers "to do everything so that we do not have to limit production."
Car sector companies have not reported any major constraints on production so far.
Thanks to the fast-growing economy, Czech unemployment is the lowest in seven years at a rate of 5.7 percent while the number of job vacancies is at multi-year highs, standing at 124,000 in April.
Industry leaders have started raising concerns over a lack of workers and the situation is slowly showing up in wages, with the real growth rate more than doubling to 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 versus the previous year.