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The labour market in April 2017

Good growth continues

03 May 2017 | Press Release No. 12

"With the sustained spring upturn there was another considerable drop in the number of unemployed persons in April. This means that the good growth in the labour market is continuing," said Detlef Scheele, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), at today’s monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

Number of unemployed in April:
-93,000 to 2,569,000

Number of unemployed compared with previous year:

Unemployment rate compared with previous month:
-0.2 percentage points to 5.8 per cent

Unemployment, underemployment and unemployment according to the ILO employment concept

The number of unemployed persons fell by 93,000 to 2,569,000 from March to April. Based on an average of the last three years, unemployment fell by 100,000 in April. Seasonally adjusted, unemployment fell by 15,000 in comparison with the previous month. Compared to the previous year, 175,000 fewer people were registered as unemployed.

Underemployment, which also covers persons taking part in labour market relief programmes and those who in the short-term are unable to work, did not change on a seasonally adjusted basis. In total, 3,603,000 persons were underemployed in April 2017, 8,000 more than in the previous year. Compared to last year the increase can be attributed to the broadening of labour market relief measures in particular to cover refugees.

In March, the number of unemployed persons as determined by the Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt) in accordance with the ILO employment concept totalled 1.70 million and the unemployment rate was 4.0 per cent.

Gainful employment and employment subject to social security contributions

Gainful employment and employment subject to social security contributions have continued to grow strongly compared to last year. According to data from the Federal Statistical Office, in March the number of persons in gainful employment (based on the national concept) rose on a seasonally adjusted basis by 42,000 compared to the previous month. At 43.82 million persons, this is an increase of 638,000 in comparison with last year. The growth can be mainly attributed to an increase in employment subject to social security contributions. According to a projection by the Federal Employment Agency, employment subject to social security contributions increased by 56,000 from January to February on a seasonally adjusted basis. A total of 31.77 million persons were in employment subject to social security contributions in February according to projected results, an increase of 717,000 compared to last year.

Demand for labour

The demand for new workers continues to be high. In April, the BA had 706,000 registered vacancies, 66,000 more than one year ago. Seasonally adjusted, demand increased by 10,000 compared to the previous month. The BA’s vacancies index, BA-X, an indicator for the demand for labour in Germany, increased by 3 points to 231 points in April 2017. The index is 20 points higher compared to last year as well – continuing to represent a significant difference.


A total of 750,000 persons were in receipt of Unemployment Benefit in April 2017, 41,000 fewer than one year ago. The number of persons capable of work and entitled to benefits in the basic benefit scheme for job seekers (German Social Code II) totalled 4,422,000 in April. Compared to April 2016 this was an increase of 95,000. This means that of the total number of persons of working age living in Germany, 8.1 per cent required assistance.

Vocational training market

The situation for the career guidance year 2016/17 remains stable. Between October 2016 and April 2017 443,000 persons registered with Employment Agencies and Job Centres looking for a training place. This is 4.000 more than the same month last year. At the same time 463,000 training places were registered, again 4,000 more than last year. The most common vacancies registered were for prospective retail salespersons (28,000 places), sales assistants (19,900 places) and office administrators (18,900 places). As in previous years, 2016/17 is also showing regional, occupational and qualifications disparities – this makes it considerably difficult to identify the balance between supply and demand. However, the labour market is still very much subject to fluctuation in April making it too early for any meaningful evaluation.