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The labour market in May 2018

Unemployment and Underemployment are expected to decrease further
30 May 2018 | Press Release No. 17

'Unemployment and underemployment are declining, employment subject to social security contributions continues to grow, and the demand for new employees remains relentlessly high. The upward trend continues, even if somewhat weaker than during the winter months,' said the CEO of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), Detlef Scheele, today, at the monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

Unemployment numbers in May:
- 68,000 at 2,315,000

The number of unemployed compared to the previous year:
- 182,000

Unemployment rate compared to the previous month:
- 0.2 percentage points at 5.1 percent

Unemployment, under-employment and inactivity

With the continued Spring recovery, the number of unemployed decreased by 68,000 from April to May, and it is down to 2,315,000. Adjusted for the seasonal influences, a decrease of 11,000 is calculated for May, compared to the previous month. Compared to the previous year, 182,000 fewer people were registered as unemployed.

Under-employment, which also includes people in various programs under labour market relieving policies and those with a short-term incapacity for work, fell by 17,000 in seasonally adjusted terms, compared with the previous month. Total underemployment in May 2018 was at 3,286,000 persons. That was 233,000 less than a year ago.

The unemployment, determined by the ILO information gathering concept of the Federal Statistical Office, amounted to 1.51 million in April, and the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.

Gainful employment and employment subject to social security insurance

Employment and employment subject to social security insurance continued to increase. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of employed persons (according to the domestic concept) rose by a seasonally adjusted 35,000 in April, compared with the previous month. With 44.62 million persons, it was 592,000 higher than in the previous year. The increase is due solely to more jobs subject to social security insurance. This increased by 725,000 compared to last year. Overall, in March, according to extrapolated data of the BA, 32.66 million people were employed in positions subject to social insurance. According to this extrapolation, the seasonally adjusted number of people who were employed in positions subject to social insurance grew from February to March by 7,000 which is a weaker growth than in the strong Winter months.

Labour Demand

Demand for new employees continues to be very high. In May, there were 793,000 jobs reported at the BA, 78,000 more than a year before. On a seasonally adjusted basis, demand rose by 5,000 compared to the previous month. The BA (BA-X) employment index - an indicator of the demand for labour in Germany - rose by 2 points in May 2018, to 253 points, after a short period of stagnation. It exceeded the previous year's value by 20 points.

Cash Benefit Payments

Altogether, 668,000 persons were receiving unemployment benefit payments in May 2018, 32,000 less than in the previous year. The number of persons capable of working and eligible for unemployment benefit within the framework of the Basic Insurance for Employment Seekers (SGB II) was 4,225,000 in May. When compared with May 2017, this indicates a decrease of 196,000 persons. 7.8 percent of the working-age population in Germany was, therefore, in need of help.

Apprentice Training Market

From October 2017 to May 2018, 456,000 applicants registered for an apprenticeship at an unemployment office or a job centre, 11,000 fewer than in the previous year. From these, in May, 208,000 were still looking for a placement. At the same time, 495,000 training positions were registered, since October. That was 16,000 more than a year ago. In May, 259,000 apprenticeship positions were still open. Apprenticeship was most frequently offered to aspiring retail salesmen/saleswomen (32,000), salesmen/saleswomen in office management (21,000) and retail seller (20,000) positions. As in previous years, in 2017/18 there are regional, occupational and qualifying disparities, also, which make the balancing of supply and demand considerably more difficult.