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The labour market in December 2019 - the economic downturn can still be felt

“The labour market was largely stable at the end of the year, but we can still see the effects of the economic downturn”, said the Chairman of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), Detlef Scheele, at today’s monthly press conference in Nuremberg.
03 Jan 2020 | Press Release No. 1

Unemployment rate in December:             +47,000 – now 2,227,000
Unemployment compared to last year:      +18,000
Unemployment compared to last month:   +0.1 percentage points – now 4.9%

Unemployment and underemployment

The number of unemployed persons rose by 47,000 to 2,227,000 from November to December. If these figures are adjusted to account for seasonal factors, an increase of 8,000 can be calculated for December compared to last month, which has mainly been caused by developments in the area of unemployment insurance due to the economic downturn. The number of unemployed persons has increased by 18,000 compared to last year. The unemployment rate has risen by 0.1 percentage point to 4.9%. There has been no change in comparison to last year’s figures for December. The short-term unemployment rate stood at 3.1% in November, as calculated by the Federal Statistical Office according to the ILO short-term employment concept.

If seasonal factors are taken into account, there has been an increase of 6,000 compared to last month with regard to the underemployment rate, which also considers changes in labour market policy and short-term incapacity to work. A total of 3,176,000 persons were underemployed in December 2019 – 18,000 more than a year ago.

Short-term employment and employment subject to national insurance payments

There has been a further increase in short-term employment and employment subject to national insurance payments, but not as strong as last year. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of persons in employment (in line with the domestic concept) in November rose by 13,000 compared to the previous month if the figures are adjusted to account for seasonal factors. There are now 45.62 million persons in employment – 304,000 more than last year. This increase is largely due to the rise in employment subject to national insurance payments – 499,000 more than last year. According to the extrapolated figures of the BA, a total of 33.99 million persons were in employment subject to national insurance payments in October. If these figures are adjusted to account for seasonal factors, this constitutes a rise of 41,000 persons from September to October.

Labour demand

There is still a high demand for new employees, but it is continuing to decrease. 687,000 jobs were registered with the BA in December – 95,000 fewer than last year. If these figures are adjusted to account for seasonal factors, the amount of jobs registered with the BA has dropped by 21,000. The BA job index (BA‑X) – an indicator of the labour demand in Germany – fell by 5 points to 223 points in December 2019. This puts it 31 points below the level recorded last year.

Cash benefits

773,000 persons received unemployment benefits in December 2019 – 65,000 more than a year ago. In December, there were 3,760,000 persons who were fit to work and eligible to receive basic security benefits for job seekers (German Social Security Code II). This represents a decrease of 220,000 persons compared to December 2018; 6.9% of the people of working age living in Germany were in need of help.