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The Labour Market in February 2019

Positive development, despite economic slowdown
01 Mar 2019 | Press Release No. 9

'Unemployment has fallen, employment subject to social security insurance continues on its path of growth, and the demand for new employees is still at a very high level. The development in the labour market therefore remains strong, despite the economic slowdown', said Detlef Scheele, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), today at the monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

The number of unemployed in February:

- 33,000 to 2,373,000

The number of unemployed compared to the previous year:

- 173,000

The unemployment rate compared to the previous month:

unchanged, at 5.3 percent

Unemployment, Underemployment and Inactivity

The number of unemployed decreased from January to February by 33,000 to 2,373,000. Adjusted for the seasonal influences, a decrease of 21,000 is calculated for February, compared to the previous month. Compared to the previous year, 173,000 fewer people were registered as unemployed. As in January, the unemployment rate was 5.3 percent. Compared to February of last year, it has decreased by 0.4 percentage points. Compared to February of last year, the unemployment rate determined according to the ILO acquisition concept of the Federal Statistical Office has dropped by 3.4 percentage points.

Under-employment, which also includes people in various programs under labour market relieving measures and those with short-term inability to work, fell by 12,000 in seasonally adjusted terms, compared with the previous month. Overall, in February 2019, the number of underemployed was 3,314,000 persons. That was 199,000 less than a year ago.

Gainful employment and employment subject to social security insurance contributions

Employment and employment subject to social security insurance contributions continued to be on the rise. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of employed persons (according to the domestic concept) rose by a seasonally adjusted 79,000 in January, compared with the previous month. With 44.79 million persons, it was 477,000 higher than in the previous year. The increase is largely due to the growth in employment subject to social security insurance contributions. This number increased by 708,000 compared to last year. Overall, in December, according to extrapolated data by the BA, 33.32 million people were employed in positions subject to social security insurance. Seasonally adjusted, there was an increase of 76,000 from November to December.

Labour Demand

Staffing needs remain high at the beginning of the year. In February, 784,000 jobs were registered with the BA, 20,000 more than a year ago. Seasonally adjusted, the number of jobs reported to the BA has slightly increased by 1.000. The job index of the BA (BA-X) - an indicator of the demand for labour in Germany - remained unchanged at 252 points, in February 2019. It is thus 3 percent above the previous year.

Cash Payment Benefits

In February 2019, 837,000 people received unemployment benefits, 6,000 more than a year ago. The number of employable persons eligible for unemployment benefit within the framework of the Basic Insurance for Employment Seekers (SGB II) was 4,014,000 in the month of February Compared with February 2018, this means a decrease by 249,000 persons. 7.4 percent of persons of the working-age living in Germany were, therefore, in need of help.

Apprentice Training Market

From October 2018 to February 2019, 356,000 applicants registered for an apprenticeship at an unemployment office or a job centre. That is 7,000 more than in the previous year. At the same time, 447,000 training positions were registered, 18,000 more than the year before. However, the apprenticeship training market is currently still very much in motion. It is, therefore, too early to draw sound conclusions.