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Labour Market in February 2018

Good Development Continues
28 Feb 2018 | Press Release No. 7

"Good development on the labour market continues in February: Unemployment and underemployment have fallen, employment subject to social security insurance contribution continues to grow and labour demand remains at a very high level," said today the Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), Detlef Scheele, on the occasion of the monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

Unemployment rate in February:
- 24,000 to 2,546,000

Annual unemployment comparison:
- 216,000

Unemployment rate from the previous month:
- 0.1%to 5.7%

Unemployment, underemployment and inactivity  

Unemployment declined by 24,000 to 2,546,000 from January to February. Adjusted for the seasonal influences, a decrease of 22,000 has been calculated for February, compared to the previous month. Compared to the previous year, 216,000 fewer people were registered as unemployed.

Underemployment, which also includes people involved in relieving labour market policy measures and short-term inability for work, fell by a seasonally adjusted number of 32,000, compared to the previous month. Overall, in February 2018, the number of underemployed was 3,514,000 people. That means 232,000 fewer unemployed compared to a year ago. The figures are lower than those for the previous year, although more refugees are receiving unemployment benefits or are enrolled in language courses and qualification measures.

Inactivity, as calculated by the Federal Statistical Office according to the ILO concept of employment, amounted to 1.57 million in January, and the inactivity rate to 3.6 percent.

Gainful employment and employment subject to social security insurance contribution

Gainful employment and employment subject to social security insurance contribution have continued to grow. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the seasonally adjusted number of persons gainfully employed (according to the domestic concept) increased by 60,000 in January, compared with the previous month. With 44.28 million people, the number was 625,000 higher than in the previous year. The increase is based solely on the increase in employment subject to social security insurance contributions. According to the seasonally adjusted extrapolation of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), from November to December, this represents an increase of 68,000. Altogether, according to extrapolated data, 32.56 million people were employed in positions subject to social security insurance contributions in December. The number represents 711,000 more people employed than a year earlier.

Demand for labour

The demand for new employees remains high. In February, 764,000 jobs were registered with the Federal Employment Agency (BA), 90,000 more than the year before. Seasonally adjusted, the demand for labour has increased by 2,000, compared to the previous month. The job index of the Federal Employment Agency BA (the BA-X) – known as an indicator for the demand for labour in Germany - remained at the same very high level of 252 points. The previous year's value will be exceeded by 25 points.

Benefit Payments

Altogether, 845,000 people received unemployment benefits in February 2018, 50,000 fewer than a year before. The number of job seekers who are able to work and are eligible for benefits under the new Basic Level of Social Protection for Job-Seekers (Sozialgesetzbuch, SGB II, or Second Book of the Social Code), was 4,263,000 in February. Compared to February 2017, this represented a decline of 141,000 people. Thus, 7.8 percent of working-age people living in Germany were in need of assistance.

Apprenticeship market

A total of 364,000 applicants enrolled at the Employment Agencies and Job Centres for an apprentice training position, between October 2017 and February 2018. That was 9,000 fewer than in the same month of the previous year. At the same time, there were 429,000 apprenticeships, 14,000 more than a year ago. The apprenticeship market has continued its mobility in February. Therefore, it is too early for a sound assessment.