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Annual Review 2018

The labour market continued to develop very well
04 Jan 2019 | Press Release No. 2

"The labour market in 2018 has developed very well. This is also due to the positive economic development. Particularly gratifying are the decline in long-term unemployment and the progress made in integrating refugees into the labour market, "said Detlef Scheele, Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), today at the monthly press conference in Nuremberg."

The number of unemployed in 2018:
2,340,000

The number of unemployed compared to the previous year:
- 193,000

Unemployment rate compared to the previous year:
- 0.5 percentage points to 5.2 percent

Unemployment and Underemployment

On average, in 2018, 2,340,000 people were registered as unemployed in Germany. This was a reduction in number by 193,000 compared to the previous year. A major contributor to this decline is the reduction in long-term unemployment.

Underemployment, which also included persons in measures of labour market policy and short-term incapacity to work, amounted on average to 3,286,000 persons in 2018. That was 231,000 less than in the previous year. As the relief from labour market policy was lower than a year ago, underemployment fell faster than unemployment on average, for the year.

Gainful employment and employment subject to social security insurance contributions

Employment and employment subject to social security insurance continued to increase in 2018. According to preliminary data from the Federal Statistical Office, employment rose, on annual average, by 562,000 to 44.83 million. Thus, employment reached its highest level since reunification.

As in previous years, employment subject to social security insurance increased stronger in 2018 than employment. Other forms of gainful employment, such as marginal employment or self-employment, continued to decline. In June 2018, 32.87 million workers were employed in positions subject to social security insurance. That was 705,000 more than a year earlier. The economy only partly explains the strong rise in employment. Other factors, such as sectoral change, high labour market tensions and immigration gained in importance for employment and led to a stable upward trend.

Labour Demand

The average number of registered jobs in the year 2018 was 796,000. That was 66,000 more than in the previous year. Most jobs in 2018 were offered for workers in the areas of transport and logistics, sales, metals, mechanical and automotive engineering, energy- and electrical engineering and healthcare.

The BA-X, a seasonally adjusted indicator of labour demand in Germany, moved above 250 points in 2018, putting it at a high level. At the end of the year, it stands at 253 points, just like it did in December 2017.

Despite the very high demand for labour, one can still not speak of a comprehensive shortage of skilled workers. Nevertheless, the number of occupations in which bottlenecks occur has increased. This applies, in particular, to occupations in IT, in energy technology, in construction and developing occupations, and in health- and nursing care professions.

Cash Payment Benefits

A total of 715,000 people received unemployment benefits in 2018 on average, 30,000 less than in 2017.

According to projected figures in 2018, the number of employable beneficiaries in the SGB II legal system was around 4,144,000. After the increase in the previous year, their number has fallen by 218,000. A large number of the Unemployment Benefit II beneficiaries are not registered as unemployed. This is because these people are gainfully employed, look after small children, care for relatives or are still in education. In 2018, in the legal circle of SGB II, there were an average of 1,538,000 people registered as unemployed.