Labour market in April 2023

Spring upturn remains weak

28 Apr 2023 | Press release no.20

“The spring upturn in the labour market remains weak in April. One of the reasons for this is the sluggish economy. Overall, however, the labour market is in a stable condition”, said Andrea Nahles, Chairwoman of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), during the monthly press conference in Nuremberg today.

Number of unemployed in April:    
-8,000 to 2,586,000
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 April 2023, during the course of the sustained spring upturn, unemployment fell compared with the previous month to 2,586,000. At 8,000, the decrease turned out to be slight. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the number of unemployed people thus increased by 24,000. The number of unemployed is 276,000 higher compared to the April of the previous year. Unemployment would also still have risen in comparison with the previous year without taking into account the refugees from Ukraine, but not to the same extent. The unemployment rate in April 2023 was at 5.7 percent, as in March, and thus increased by 0.7 percentage points against the same month last year. In March, the unemployment rate determined by the Federal Statistical Office according to the ILO concept of employment came to 2.9 percent.
On a seasonally-adjusted basis, underemployment, which, in addition to unemployment, also includes changes in labour market policy and short-term incapacity to work, increased by 18,000 compared with the previous month. In April 2023, it amounted to 3,445,000 people. That is 389,000 more than a year ago. If Ukrainian refugees were not taken into account, underemployment would be 34,000 above 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 current data, from 1st to 24th April inclusive, cyclical short-time work was notified for 36,000 people. 
The latest data on the actual take-up is available until February 2023. According to the initially projected data from the Federal Employment Agency, the cyclical allowance for short-time work was paid to 162,000 workers in that month. This led to a slight increase in demand in February.

Economic activity and employment

According to the Federal Statistical Office, in March 2023, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the number of economically active persons (according to the domestic concept) rose by 56,000 compared with the previous month. At 45.72 million people, it was 449,000 higher than in the previous year. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, from January to February 2023, employment with social security contributions increased by 46,000. Compared with the previous year, in February, this increased by 371,000 to 34.61 million employees, according to the projections of the BA. In February 2023, 7.41 million people were in low-paid “mini job” employment, 278,000 more than in the same month last year. Of this total, for 4.17 million people, this low-paid employment was their only job, and for 3.25 million it was just a side job. 

The demand for labour

In April, 773,000 job vacancies were registered with the BA, 79,000 fewer than one year ago. Seasonally adjusted, the reported demand for labour has been on a downward trend since early summer last year. Overall, however, the amount of registered vacancies remains at a comparatively high level. The BA Jobs Index (BA X) – an indicator of the demand for staff in Germany, which takes into account both already-existing and new registered vacancies – fell in April 2023 by 1 point to 124 points. The difference in the Jobs Index to the same month the previous year widened to 
-14 points. 

Cash benefits for unemployment and persons requiring support

In April 2023, 768,000 people received unemployment benefits, 51,000 more than a year ago. In April, the number of persons able to work and entitled to benefits in terms of the Basic Support for Job Seekers (SGB II) was 3,915,000. In comparison with April 2022, this was an increase of 375,000 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

From October 2022 to April 2023, 336,000 applicants registered for an apprenticeship position at the agencies for employment and job centres. That was 3,000 fewer than the same period last year. Of this total, 181,000 young people remained yet to find an apprenticeship position or an alternative in April. At the same time, 472,000 apprenticeship positions were registered, 6,000 more than a year ago. 290,000 of these remained unfilled. The market for apprenticeships is traditionally very busy in April, though. Therefore, these figures only allow for a preliminary assessment of the developments during the course of the current reporting year.