Labour market in November 2023

Weak development continues

30 Nov 2023 | Press release no.52

“The economic slowdown continues to leave its mark on the German labour market. Seasonally adjusted unemployment and underemployment have increased. Employment figures are growing only slightly and the reported demand for labour is still falling,” said Andrea Nahles, Chair of the Executive Board of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), speaking today at the monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

Unemployed persons in November:
-1,000 to 2,606,000
Number of unemployed compared with the previous year:
Unemployment rate compared with the previous month:
-0.1 percentage points to 5.6 percent

Unemployment, underemployment and economic inactivity

Unemployment fell in November 2023 – as is usual in the autumn months – to 2,606,000. With a fall of only 1,000, however, this is a very small decrease for November. The seasonally adjusted number of unemployed persons increased by 22,000 compared with the previous month. Compared with November last year, the number of unemployed persons is 172,000 higher. The unemployment rate fell in November by 0.1 percentage points to 5.6 percent. Compared with the same month in the previous year, the rate increased by 0.3 percentage points. The rate of unemployment in October, as determined by the Federal Statistical Office according to the labour force concept of the ILO, amounted to 3.1 percent.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, underemployment, which along with unemployment also includes short-term incapacity to work, increased by 13,000 compared with the previous month. In November 2023, underemployment amounted to 3,448,000 people. This is 176,000 more than a year ago. Without taking Ukrainian refugees into account, underemployment would only have been 122,000 higher than it was this time last 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 57,000 people from 1st until 26th November.

The latest data on the actual take-up is available up to September 2023. According to preliminary extrapolated data from the Federal Employment Agency, cyclical short-time allowance was paid for 149,000 employees in this month, after 111,000 in August and July.

Economic activity and employment

According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of economically active persons (according to the domestic concept) in October 2023 increased by 15,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis compared with the previous month. At 46.26 million persons, it was 272,000 higher than in the previous year. Employment subject to social security contributions increased slightly by 5,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis between August and September 2023. According to projections by the BA, the number of employed persons rose in September compared to the previous year by 195,000 to 35.09 million, whereby the rise is due solely to foreign nationals. In September 2023, 7.6 million people were in low-paid “mini job” employment, 201,000 more than in the same month last year. Of this total, for 4.19 million people, this low-paid employment was their only job, and for 3.42 million it was just a side job.

The demand for labour

In this context, 733,000 job vacancies were registered with the BA in November, 90,000 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 November 2023 by 1 point to 114 points. Compared to the same month last year, the BA-X recorded a decline of 15 points.

Cash benefits for unemployment and persons requiring support

795,000 people received unemployment benefit in October 2023, 93,000 more than a year ago. In November, the number of persons able to work and entitled to benefits in terms of the Basic Income Support for Job Seekers (SGB II) was 3,915,000. In comparison with November 2022, this was an increase of 80,000 people. Therefore, 7.1 percent of people of working age living in Germany were in need of support.