Labour market in April 2024

Spring upturn remains subdued

30 Apr 2024 | Press release no.17

“The labour market continues to lack momentum. The spring upturn therefore remains subdued. But although the German economy hasn’t been expanding strongly for two years, the situation on the labour market is still very positive,” explained the Director for the Regions at the Federal Employment Agency (BA), Daniel Terzenbach, on the occasion of today’s monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

Number of unemployed persons in April: 
-20,000 to 2,750,000
Number of unemployed persons compared with the same time last year:    
Unemployment rate compared with the previous month:
unchanged at 6.0 percent

Unemployment, underemployment and economic inactivity

With the continuation of the spring upturn, in April 2024, unemployment fell by 20,000 to a total of 2,750,000. This month’s fall was comparatively small, however, which means that on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the number of unemployed persons increased by 10,000 compared with the previous month. The number of unemployed persons is 164,000 higher in comparison with April last year. As in March, the unemployment rate in April 2024 was 6.0%. Compared with the same month in the previous year, the rate increased by 0.3 percentage points. In March, the unemployment rate determined by the Federal Statistical Office according to the ILO concept of employment was 3.4 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 April 2024, it amounted to 3,572,000 people. This is 132,000 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 61,000 people from 1st up to and including 24th April, which is good 25% more than in the same period last month.

The latest data on the actual take-up is available until February 2024. According to the preliminary extrapolated data of the Federal Employment Agency, the cyclical short-time allowance was paid for 204,000 employees in this month, after 190,000 in January and 146,000 in December.

Economic activity and employment

According to the Federal Statistical Office, in March 2024, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the number of economically active persons (according to the domestic concept) increased by 8,000 compared with the previous month. At 45.81 million persons, it was 100,000 higher than it was this time last year. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, employment subject to social security contributions increased by 9,000 people between January and February 2024. According to projections by the BA, in comparison with last year, in February the number of employed persons increased by 164,000 to 34.77 million, with the increase due solely to foreign nationals. In February 2024, 7.49 million people were in low-paid “mini job” employment, 97,000 more than in the same month last year. Of this total, for 4.14 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 April, 701,000 job vacancies were registered with the BA, 72,000 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 previously existing and newly registered vacancies – fell in April 2024 by 2 point to 111 points. Compared with the same time last year, the BA-X recorded a decline of 12 points.

Cash benefits for unemployment and persons requiring support

In April 2024, 863,000 people received Unemployment Benefit, 84,000 more than a year ago. In April, the total number of people able to work and entitled to Citizen’s Benefit was 4,009,000. In comparison with April 2023, this was an increase of 71,000 people. Therefore, 7.3 percent of people of working age living in Germany were in need of support.

The market for vocational training and apprenticeships

From October 2023 to April 2024, 342,000 applicants registered for an apprenticeship position at the agencies for employment and Jobcenters. That was 6,000 more people than in the same period during the previous year. Of this total, 185,000 young people remained yet to find an apprenticeship position or an alternative in April. At the same time, 455,000 apprenticeship positions were registered, 17,000 more than a year ago. Of these, 270,000 were still vacant. The market for apprenticeships is traditionally very busy in April, though. These figures therefore only allow a preliminary assessment of developments in the current reporting year.