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The labour market in December 2016

Positive development at the end of the year
03 Jan 2017 | Press Release No. 1

“The positive development in the unemployment figures continued to the end of the year. While the long period of strong employment buoyancy has become significantly weaker since summer, the demand for new workers continues on a very high level,” said Frank-J. Weise, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Federal Employment Agency, in Nuremberg today at the monthly press conference.

Number of unemployed in December:
+36,000 to 2,568,000

Number of unemployed compared with the previous year:
-113,000

Unemployment rate compared with the previous month:
+0.1 percentage points to 5.8 per cent

Unemployment, underemployment and unemployment according to the ILO employment concept

From November to December the unemployment figures increased by 36,000 to 2,568,000. On average over the last the years, unemployment in December increased by 54,000. Seasonally adjusted, there was a decrease of 17,000 compared with the previous month; 113,000 fewer persons were registered as unemployed compared with the previous year.

Seasonally adjusted, underemployment, which also covers those in relieving employment and training measures, as well as those who are affected by short-term incapacity for work, increased by 2,000. The reason for the slight increase is the greater relief created by labour market policies, in particular for refugees. In total, 3,565,000 persons were underemployed in December 2016, 59,000 more than one year ago.

In November, unemployment figures calculated by the Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt) in accordance with the ILO employment concept amounted to 1.71 million and the unemployment rate was 3.9 per cent.

Development in the unemployment insurance scheme

In December, 785,000 persons were registered as unemployed in the unemployment insurance scheme (Social Code III). Compared with December 2015, this is a reduction of 13,000. In December 2016, a total of 764,000 persons received unemployment benefit, 27,000 fewer than one year ago.

Development in basic security scheme for job seekers

In December, 4,307,000 persons eligible for benefits and capable of work were in receipt of unemployment benefit II in the basic security scheme for job seekers (Social Code II). In comparison with December 2015, this was an increase of 63,000 persons. This means that 7.9 per cent of the German working age population is in need of help. In the basic security scheme for job seekers, 1,783,000 persons were registered as unemployed, 100,000 fewer than one year ago. A large proportion of those eligible for benefits and capable of work are not unemployed. The reason for this is that they are employed for at least 15 hours per week, look after small children, care for relatives, or are still in vocational training.

Gainful employment and employment subject to social insurance contributions

Gainful employment and employment subject to social insurance contributions have continued to grow in comparison with the previous year, although growth has tailed off recently. According to data from the Federal Statistical Office, in November the number of those in gainful employment (in accordance with the domestic concept) rose by 34,000, seasonally adjusted, compared to the previous month. At 43.82 million people this exceeds the number of the previous year by 297,000. According to an extrapolation by the Federal Employment Agency, employment subject to social insurance contributions increased from September to October by 4,000, seasonally adjusted. In toto, 31.73 million persons were in employment subject to social insurance contributions in October, 363,000 more than the year before.

Demand for labour

The demand for labour is still at a high level. In June, 462,000 vacancies were registered with the Federal Employment Agency, 25,000 more than one year ago. Seasonally adjusted, the demand shows a plus of 6,000 in comparison with the previous month. The Federal Employment Agency’s vacancies index (BA-X) – an indicator for the demand for labour in Germany – increased in December 2016 by 4 points to 227 points. In comparison with the previous year as well the difference continues to be very clear with a plus of 21 points.