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The labour market in May 2017

Continuously favourable development
31 May 2017 | Press Release No. 13

"The labour market continues to develop favourably, as well, under good economic circumstances. The number of unemployed people decreased further in May and employment has grown considerably once again. The demand for workers also continues to be on a very high level", said Detlef Scheele, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), at today's monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

Number of unemployed in May:
-71,000 to 2,498,000

Number of unemployed compared with the previous year:
-166,000

Unemployment rate compared with the previous month:
-0.2 percentage points to 5.6 per cent

Unemployment, underemployment and unemployment according to the ILO employment concept

The number of unemployed people has decreased by 71,000 to 2,498,000 from April to May. Seasonally adjusted, this is a decrease of 9,000 compared to the previous month. Compared to the previous year, 166,000 less people were registered as unemployed.

Underemployment, which also covers persons taking part in relieving employment and training measures and those suffering from short-term incapacity for work decreased seasonally adjusted by 13,000. In total, 3,526,000 people were underemployed in May 2017. This was 24,000 less than one year ago. Underemployment did thus not decrease as much as unemployment in comparison to the previous year. This is due to an expansion of the relief through labour market policies particularly for refugees compared to the previous year.

In May, the unemployment figures determined by the Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt) in accordance with the ILO employment concept were 1.78 million and the unemployment rate was 4.2 per cent.

Gainful employment and employment subject to social security contributions

Gainful employment and employment subject to social security contributions have continued to grow considerably in comparison to the previous year. According to data from the Federal Statistical Office, the number of those in gainful employment (based on the national concept) increased seasonally adjusted by 31,000 in April compared to the previous month. At 43.98 million people, it increased by 652,000 in comparison to the previous year. The increase is mainly due to more employment subject to social security contributions. According to a projection by the BA, it increased by 48,000 from February to March after seasonal adjustment. According to projected figures, a total of 31.93 million people were in employment subject to social security contributions in March; 734,000 more than one year ago.

Demand for labour

The demand for labour remains at a very high level. In May, the BA had 714,000 registered vacancies; 60,000 more than one year ago. Seasonally adjusted, demand increased by 5,000 compared to the previous month. The BA’s vacancies index BA-X, an indicator for the demand for labour in Germany, remained unchanged at 231 points in May 2017. The 15-point increase compared to the previous year is still very considerable.

Cash benefits

A total of 699,000 persons were in receipt of unemployment benefits in May 2017; 53,000 less than one year ago. In May, 4,418,000 employable beneficiaries were in receipt of unemployment benefits (Type II) in the basic benefit scheme for job seekers (Social Code II). Compared with May 2016, this is an increase of 97,000 persons. Of the total number of persons of working age living in Germany, 8.1 per cent thus required assistance.

Vocational training market

The situation on the vocational training market has been stable in the vocational guidance year of 2016/17. Between October 2016 and May 2017, 467,000 applicants have registered with the employment agencies and jobcenters for a training place. This was 3,000 more than in the same period of the previous year. At the same time, 480,000 training places were registered; 2,000 more than one year ago. Training places that were offered most frequently included commercial trainings in retail (29,000), trainings for sales clerks (20,000) and commercial trainings for office management (20,000). As in the previous years, regional, vocational and qualification-related disparities are also apparent in 2016/17, which significantly complicate the adjustment of supply and demand. However, the vocational training market is still subject to fluctuations in May. It is thus too soon for a well-founded evaluation.