The labour market in January 2023 – an increase in unemployment which is normal for the time of year.

31 Jan 2023 | Press release no.6

“At the start of the year, the labour market remained stable. The effects of the geopolitical and economic uncertainties remain evident, however,” said Andrea Nahles, Chairwoman of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), on the occasion of the monthly press conference in Nuremberg today.

Unemployment rate in August:
+162,000 to 2,616,000
Unemployment rate compared with the previous year:
Unemployment rate compared with the previous month:
+0.3 percentage point to 5.7 percent

Unemployment, underemployment and economic inactivity 

In January 2023, during the course of the winter break, unemployment increased compared with the previous month by 162,000 to 2,616,000. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the number of unemployed people fell by 15,000. Compared with January last year, the number of unemployed people is 154,000 higher. However, without taking the refugees from Ukraine due to the conflict with Russia into account, unemployment would have fallen in comparison with the previous year. From December 2022 to January 2023, the unemployment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points to 5.7 percent, making it 0.3 higher compared with the same month in the previous year. In December, the unemployment rate determined by the Federal Statistical Office according to the ILO concept of employment was 2.8 percent.
On a seasonally-adjusted basis, underemployment, which in addition to unemployment, considers labour market policy and short-term incapacity to work, increased by 3,000 compared with the previous month. This can also be accounted for by the increased participation of Ukrainian refugees in integration courses, however. In January 2023, underemployment amounted to 3,455,000 people. That is 269,000 more than a year ago.

Short-time work

Before the start of short-time work, companies are required to submit a notification of the expected loss of work. According to the current data on the verified notifications, from 1st to 25th January inclusive, cyclical short-time work was notified for 57,000 people. 
The latest data on the actual take-up is available until November 2022. According to the initially projected data from the Federal Employment Agency, in that month, the cyclical allowance for short-time work was paid to 208,000 workers. In recent times, its use has therefore seen a noticeable increase.

Economic activity and employment

According to the Federal Statistical Office, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of economically active people (according to the domestic concept) rose by 24,000 in December 2022 compared with the previous month. At 45.84 million people, it was 458,000 higher than in the previous year. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, from October to November 2022, employment with social security contributions increased by 30,000. According to the projections of the BA, it increased in November by 477,000 to 34.93 million employees compared with the previous year. In November 2022, 7.48 million people were in marginal “mini job” employment, 206,000 more than in the same month of the previous year. Of this total, for 4.18 million people, this low-paid employment was their only job, and for 3.30 million it was just a part-time position. The increase in comparison with the previous year is largely due to those employed in part-time jobs for low wages. 

The demand for labour

At the start of the year, the demand for labour continued to fall slightly. Overall, however, the demand for staff remains stable and at a comparatively high level. In this context, 764,000 job vacancies were registered with the BA, 27,000 fewer than one year ago. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the number of jobs registered with the BA increased by 2,000 compared with the previous month. In January 2023, the BA Jobs Index (BA X) – an indicator for the demand for staff in Germany, which also takes the number of registered jobs and new jobs into account – remained unchanged at 128 points, the same as the three previous months. 

Cash benefits for unemployment and persons requiring support

In January 2023, 817,000 people received Unemployment Benefit, 5,000 more than a year ago. In January, the number of people capable of working and entitled to benefits in terms of the Basic Income for Job Seekers (SGB II) was 3,862,000. In comparison with January 2022, this was an increase of 278,000 people. Therefore, 7.1 percent of people of working age living in Germany were in need of support.

The market for vocational training and apprenticeships

From October 2022 until January 2023, subsequent to the traditional placement period, 63,000 young people were seeking an apprenticeship with an immediate start on the market for vocational training and apprenticeships. That is at least 4,000 fewer than last year. Approximately 82,000 registered apprenticeships were available, 4,000 more than in the previous year. In January 2023, 25,000 applicants had failed to find anything, while a further 20,000 were still seeking an apprenticeship although they also had alternative options. At the same time, 13,000 apprenticeships remained unfilled. 

So far, 2 percent fewer applicants have been registered for the new reporting year of 2022/23 than in the same period last year. The number of in-company apprenticeships exceeds the previous year’s figure by 3 percent. In January, the market for apprenticeships is still very busy, however.