The labour market in March 2024

A subdued start to the spring revival

28 Mar 2024 | Press release no.14

“Unemployment and underemployment fell in March, although to a lesser degree than is usual for this month. The economic slowdown therefore continues to affect the labour market. Overall, though, the situation remains relatively good,” said the chair of the executive board of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), Andrea Nahles, at today’s monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

Number of unemployed persons in March:
-45,000 to 2,769,000

Number of unemployed persons compared with last year:

Unemployment rate compared with the previous month:
-0.1 percentage points to 6.0 percent

Unemployment, underemployment and economic inactivity

With the onset of the spring revival, in March 2024, unemployment fell by 45,000 to a total of 2,769,000. This year’s decline was comparatively small, however, which means that on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the number of unemployed persons increased by 4,000 compared with the previous month. The number of unemployed persons is 176,000 higher compared with March last year. In March 2024, the unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage points to 6.0 percent. Compared with the same month last year, the rate has increased by 0.3 percentage points. In February, the unemployment rate determined by the Federal Statistical Office according to the ILO concept of employment was 3.5 percent.

On a seasonally-adjusted basis, underemployment, which along with unemployment also includes short-term incapacity to work, increased by 10,000 compared with the previous month. In March 2024, 3,606,000 people were underemployed. This is 143,000 more than a year ago.

Short-time work

Before the start of short-time work, companies are required to submit a notification regarding the expected loss of work. According to the current data, short-time work was reported for 48,000 people from the 1st up to and including the 24th March, which is 10,000 less than at the same time in the previous month.

The latest data on the actual take-up is available until January 2024. According to the preliminary extrapolated data of the Federal Employment Agency, the cyclical short-time allowance was paid for 194,000 employees in this month, after 154,000 in December and 175,000 in November.

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 16,000 in February 2024 compared with the previous month. At 45.83 million people, it was 199,000 higher than the same time last year. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, employment subject to social security contributions increased by 27,000 from December to January 2024. According to projections by the BA, in comparison with last year, in January the number of employed persons increased by 205,000 to 34.75 million, with the increase due solely to foreign nationals. In January 2024, 7.48 million people were in marginal “mini job” employment, 116,000 more than in the same month last year. Of this total, for 4.13 million people, this low-paid employment was their only job, while for 3.35 million, it was just a side job.

The demand for labour

In March, 707,000 job vacancies were registered with the BA, 70,000 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 March 2024 by one point to 113 points. Compared with the same month last year, the BA-X recorded a decline of 11 points.

Cash benefits for unemployment and persons requiring support

In March 2024, 907,000 people were in receipt of Unemployment Benefit, 105,000 more than a year ago. In March, the total number of people able to work and entitled to Citizen’s Benefit was 3,995,000. In comparison with March 2023, this was an increase of 56,000 people. 7.3 percent of people of working age living in Germany were therefore in need of support.

The market for vocational training and apprenticeships

From October 2023 until March 2024, 317,000 applicants registered their interest in finding apprenticeship at the agencies for employment and the Jobcenters. That was 6,000 more people than in the same period last year. Of this total, 190,000 young people remained yet to find an apprenticeship position or an alternative in March. At the same time, 438,000 apprenticeship positions were registered, 13,000 more than a year ago. Of these, 281,000 were still vacant. The apprenticeship market is still fluctuating sharply in March, however. These figures therefore only allow a preliminary assessment of the development in the current reporting year.