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The labor market in December 2017

Significant seasonally-adjusted decline in unemployment

03 Jan 2018 | Press Release No. 1

The labor market developed very well in December 2017: the number of unemployed people has risen less than the seasonal average, the employment subject to social insurance contributions and the demand for new employees continues to rise sharply at a high level," stated the CEO of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), Detlef Scheele, today on the occasion of the monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

Unemployment rate in December:

+17,000 to 2,385,000

Unemployment rate compared to last year:


Unemployment rate compared to last month:

No change at 5.3 percent

Unemployment, underemployment and inactivity

The number of unemployed people rose by 17,000 to 2,385,000 from November to December as a result of the onset of the winter break. Adjusted for seasonal influences, unemployment dropped significantly by 29,000 compared to the previous month. Compared to the previous year, 183,000 fewer people were registered as unemployed.

Underemployment, which also includes people in relief labor market policies and short-term incapacity for work, fell 23,000 in seasonally adjusted terms compared to the previous month. Overall, underemployment in December 2017 was 3,377,000. That was 165,000 less than a year ago. This is less than the previous year's level compared to unemployment. This is due to the fact that more people - especially refugees - were supported than in the previous year.

Inactivity, as calculated by the Federal Statistical Office according to the International Labor Organization (ILO) concept of employment, amounted to 1.50 million in November and the unemployment rate to 3.4 percent.

Employment and employment subject to social insurance

Employment and employment subject to social insurance continued to increase strongly compared to the previous year. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of persons in employment (according to the domestic concept) increased by a seasonally adjusted 50,000 in November compared to the previous month. With 44.74 million people, it was 613,000 higher than in the previous year. The increase is due solely to more employment subject to social security contributions. According to the extrapolation of the BA from September to October, this has increased seasonally adjusted by 69,000. Altogether, in October, according to extrapolated data, 32.79 million people were employed by social insurance. That was 743,000 more than a year earlier.

Demand for labor

The demand for labor continues to rise at a persistently high level. In December, 761,000 jobs were registered with the Federal Employment Agency, 103,000 more than a year ago. Seasonally adjusted, demand has increased by 18,000 month-on-month. The job index of the BA (BA-X) - an indicator of the demand for labor in Germany - rose in December 2017 by 6 points to 256 points. The previous year's value is exceeded by 31 points.

Financial allowance

A total of 707,000 people received unemployment benefits in December 2017, 50,000 less than a year ago. The number of persons eligible to work in Basic Benefits for Jobseekers (SGB II) was 4,272,000 in December. Compared to December 2016, this was a decrease of 51,000 people. 7.8 percent of people of working age living in Germany were therefore in need of help.