Labour market in February 2023

Stable despite weak economy

01 Mar 2023 | Press release no.11

“The number of people unemployed rose slightly in February. Employment with social security contributions increased again. Overall, the labour market showed itself to be stable despite the difficult economic situation”, said Andrea Nahles, Chairwoman of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), on the occasion of the monthly press conference in Nuremberg today.

Number of unemployed in February:
+4,000 to 2,620,000
Number of unemployed compared with the previous year:
Unemployment rate compared with the previous month:
unchanged at 5.7 percent

Unemployment, underemployment and economic inactivity 

In February 2023 unemployment rose slightly against the previous month, namely by 4,000 to 2,620,000. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of unemployed persons increased by 2,000. The number of unemployed is 192,000 higher compared to the February of the previous year. If Ukrainian refugees from Russia’s offensive war were not taken into account, there would only be a slight increase in unemployment compared to the previous year. The employment rate in February 2023 was at 5.7 percent, as in January, and has thus increased by 0.4 percentage points against the same month last year. In January, the unemployment rate determined by the Federal Statistical Office according to the ILO concept of employment came to 3.0 percent.

On a seasonally-adjusted basis, underemployment, which in addition to unemployment, considers changes in labour market policy and short-term incapacity to work, increased by 14,000 compared with the previous month. This can also be accounted for by the increased participation of Ukrainian refugees in integration courses, however. In February 2023, 3,486,000 people were underemployed. That is 316,000 more than a year ago. If Ukrainian refugees were not taken into account, underemployment would be 25,000 below the previous year’s figure.

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 notifications, from 1st to 23rd February inclusive, cyclical short-time work was notified for 61,000 people. 

The latest data on the actual take-up is available until December 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 183,000 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 64,000 in January 2023 compared with the previous month. At 45.57 million people, it was 454,000 higher than in the previous year. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, from November to December 2022, employment with social security contributions increased by 46,000. According to the projections of the BA, it increased in December by 446,000 to 34.73 million employees compared with the previous year. In December 2022, 7.47 million people were in marginal “mini job” employment, 241,000 more than in the same month of the previous year. Of this total, for 4.19 million people, this low-paid employment was their only job, and for 3.28 million it was just a side job. The increase in comparison with the previous year is largely due to those employed in side jobs for low wages. 

The demand for labour

In February, 778,000 job vacancies were registered with the BA, 44,000 fewer than one year ago. Seasonally adjusted, the demand for labour has overall fallen slightly since early summer last year. Overall, however, the demand for staff remains at a comparatively high level. 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 in February 2023 at 127 points. The difference in the Jobs Index to the same month the previous year widened to -9 points. 

Cash benefits for unemployment and persons requiring support

In February 2023, 838,000 people received Unemployment Benefits, 37,000 more than a year ago. In February the number of people capable of working and entitled to benefits in terms of the Basic Income for Job Seekers (SGB II) was 3,886,000. In comparison with February 2022, this was an increase of 302,000 people. Therefore, 7.2 percent of people of working age living in Germany were in need of support.

The market for vocational training and apprenticeships

So far, for the new reporting year of 2022/23, 282,000 people have applied for support in their search for an apprenticeship place, one percent less than in the same period of the previous year. The number of in-company apprenticeships exceeds the previous year’s figure by 2 percent, at 424,000. In February, the market for apprenticeships is still very busy, however.