The labour market in September 2023

Muted autumn revival due to weak economic growth

29 Sep 2023 | Press release no.44

“This year’s autumn revival is proving to be comparatively muted. Unemployment and underemployment are falling, but by less than is considered usual for September. The German labour market generally remains stable, however” explained Daniel Terzenbach, Regional Director of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), at today’s monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

Unemployment rate in September:
-69,000 to 2,627,000
Number of unemployed persons compared with the previous year:
Unemployment rate compared with the previous month:
-0.1 percentage points to 5.7 percent

Unemployment, underemployment and economic inactivity

In September 2023, the autumn revival saw unemployment fall to 2,627,000. With a fall of 69,000, however, this is a relatively small decrease for September. The seasonally adjusted number of unemployed persons increased in September by 10,000 compared with the previous month. Compared with September last year, the number of unemployed persons is 141,000 higher. The unemployment rate fell in September by 0.1 percentage points to 5.7 percent. Compared with the same month in the previous year, the rate increased by 0.3 percentage points. The rate of unemployment in August, as determined by the Federal Statistical Office according to the labour force concept of the ILO, amounted to 3.2 percent.

On a seasonally-adjusted basis, underemployment, which along with unemployment also includes short-term incapacity to work, increased by 15,000 compared with the previous month. In September 2023, underemployment amounted to 3,440,000 people. That is 190,000 more than a year ago. Without taking Ukrainian refugees into account, under-employment would only have been 105,000 higher than it was in the previous year.

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, short-time work due to market conditions was reported for 50,000 people from 1st up to and including 25th September.

The latest data on the actual take-up is available up to July 2023. According to preliminary extrapolated data from the Federal Employment Agency, the cyclical short-time allowance was paid to 124,000 employees in this month, after 158,000 in June and 156,000 in May.

Economic activity and employment

According to the Federal Statistical Office, the seasonally adjusted number of economically active persons (according to the inland concept) in August 2023 increased by 35,000 compared with the previous month. At 45.99 million people, it was 347,000 higher than in the previous year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, from June to July 2023, employment with social security contributions increased by 8,000. According to projections by the BA, in July, the number of employed persons rose compared with the previous year by 239,000 to 34.56 million, whereby the rise is due solely to foreign nationals. In July 2023, 7.6 million people were in low-paid “mini job” employment, 245,000 more than in the same month last year. Of this total, for 4.27 million people, this low-paid employment was their only job, and for 3.33 million it was just a side job.

The demand for labour

In September, 761,000 job vacancies were registered with the BA, 113,000 fewer than one year ago. 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 September 2023 by one point to 115 points. This means that the demand for labour continues to decline. Compared with the same month last year, the BA-X recorded a decline of 17 points.

Cash benefits for unemployment and persons requiring support

779,000 people received unemployment benefit in September 2023, 81,000 more than one year ago. In September, the number of persons able to work and entitled to benefits in terms of the Basic Support for Job Seekers (SGB II) was 3,925,000. In comparison with September 2022, this was an increase of 84,000 people. Therefore, 7.2 percent of people of working age living in Germany were in need of support.