Labour market in December 2023

Seasonal rise in unemployment

03 Jan 2024 | Press release no.1

“As is normal for this month, unemployment and underemployment increased in December as the winter break began. Employment continues to grow and the demand among companies for new staff did not weaken further in December. However, a slight increase was observed in the use of short-time work,” said Andrea Nahles, Chair of the Executive Board of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), today at the monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

Unemployment rate in December:
+31,000 to 2,637,000
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

As is usually the case for the season, unemployment rose by 31,000 to 2,637,000 in December 2023. The seasonally adjusted number of unemployed persons increased by 5,000 compared with the previous month. Compared with December last year, the number of unemployed people is 183,000 higher. The unemployment rate rose in December by around 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 November, as determined by the Federal Statistical Office according to the labour force concept of the ILO, amounted to 3.0 percent.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, underemployment, which along with unemployment also includes short-term incapacity to work, increased by 11,000 compared with the previous month. In December 2023, You amounted to 3,484,000 people. This is 171,000 more than a year ago. Without taking Ukrainian refugees into account, underemployment would only have been 126,000 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 current data, short-time work was reported for 60,000 people from 1st up to and including 27th December, slightly more than the same time last month.

The latest data on the actual take-up is available until October 2023. According to preliminary extrapolated data from the Federal Employment Agency, cyclical short-time allowance was paid for 179,000 employees in this month, after 150,000 in September and 111,000 in August.

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 slightly by 22,000 in November 2023 compared with the previous month. At 46.22 million people, it was 213,000 higher than in the previous year. Seasonally adjusted employment subject to social security contributions increased by 34,000 from September to October 2023. According to projections by the BA, the number of employed persons rose in October compared to the previous year by 227,000 to 35.12 million, whereby the rise is due solely to foreign nationals. In October 2023, 7.62 million people were in marginal “mini job” employment, 171,000 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 3.43 million it was just a side job.

The demand for labour

In December, 713,000 job vacancies were registered with the BA, 68,000 fewer than one year ago. In December 2023, the BA Jobs Index (BA X) – an indicator of the demand for staff in Germany, which also takes the number of registered jobs and new jobs into account – rose by 1 point to 116 points. Compared to the same month last year, the BA-X recorded a decline of 12 points.

Cash benefits for unemployment and persons requiring support

In December 2023, 833,000 people received unemployment benefit, 91,000 more than a year ago. In December, the number of people capable of working and entitled to benefits in terms of the Basic Support for Job Seekers (SGB II) was 3,932,000. In comparison with December 2022, this was an increase of 95,000 people. Therefore, 7.2 percent of people of working age living in Germany were in need of support.