The labour market in June 2021

Significant improvement

30 Jun 2021 | Press Release No. 25

“The broad improvement in the labour market continues in June. Unemployment and underemployment have continued to fall strongly. Companies are continuing to reduce short-time work and are again looking more for new staff,” said Detlef Scheele, Chairperson of the Executive Board of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), at the monthly press conference in Nuremberg today.

Unemployment rate in June:
-73,000 – now 2,614,000

Unemployed persons compared to last year:

Unemployment rate compared to last month: 
-0.2 percentage points to 5.7 percent

Unemployment and underemployment

With the steps taken towards reopening, the number of unemployed in June 2021 decreased significantly by 73,000 compared to the previous month, to 2,614,000. Seasonally adjusted, it decreased by 38,000. The unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage points to 5.7 percent. Compared to June of last year, the number of unemployed has fallen by 239,000. The unemployment rate recorded a decrease of 0.5 percentage points compared to the previous year. However, June 2020 was massively affected by the Corona crisis. Its consequences have amounted to an increase of about 400,000 unemployed persons or 0.9 percentage points in the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate determined according to the ILO employment concept by the Federal Statistical Office was 3.6 percent in May.

Underemployment, which also takes into account changes in labour market policy and short-term incapacity to work, was at 3,411,000 in June. That is 207,000 less than a year ago.

Short-time work

Before receiving short-time working allowance for their employees, companies have to report the expected reduction in their working hours. According to the data obtained so far, short-time working arrangements were reported for 59,000 people from 1 up to and including 24 June due to the economic situation. This means that the number of people displayed has continued to drop significantly.

Current data on actual take-up is available until April 2021. According to preliminary extrapolated data from the Federal Employment Agency, cyclical short-time allowance was paid to 2.34 million workers this month. Take-up continues to decline. In April 2020, it had peaked at just under 6 million.

Labour force participation and employment

In the wake of the Corona crisis, labour force participation and employment had declined significantly, but are currently showing a slight upward trend. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of persons participating in the labour force (according to the domestic concept) rose by 15,000 in May 2021 compared to the previous month, seasonally adjusted. There are now 44.63 million persons in employment – 48,000 more than last year. Employment subject to social security contributions, whose data only extend to April 2021 and does not yet reflect the current steps towards reopening, increased by 4,000 in this month, seasonally adjusted. Compared to the previous year, employment subject to social security contributions increased by 245,000 to 33.68 million in April, according to BA extrapolations. Marginally paid employment is more affected by the measures to curb the Corona pandemic. According to preliminary, extrapolated data of the BA, there were 56,000 fewer marginally paid employees (in total) in April (6.92 million) than in the same month of the previous year.

Labour demand

In June, 693,000 jobs were reported to the BA, 123,000 more than a year ago. If these figures are adjusted to account for seasonal factors, the amount of jobs reported to the BA has increased by 25,000. The BA job index (BA‑X) – an indicator for the demand for personnel in Germany – rose by 5 points to 114 points in June 2021. This is 23 points higher than the value for June 2020, the month of the previous year already affected by Corona. The BA-X also matches the value of March 2020 for the first time again, i.e. the last reporting month before the effects of the pandemic measures became visible on the labour market.

Cash benefits

808,000 persons received unemployment benefits in June 2021 – 238,000 less than a year ago. In June, there were 3,903,000 persons who were fit to work and eligible to receive basic security benefits for job seekers (German Social Security Code II). Compared to June 2020, this was a decrease of 129,000 persons. This means that 7.2 percent of persons of working age living in Germany were in need of assistance.

Vocational training market

From October 2020 to June 2021, 385,000 persons applied for vocational training through their local Agentur für Arbeit or Jobcenter. That’s 32,000 fewer than in the previous year. The decline is not to be equated with a declining interest of young persons in vocational training. Rather, many reports were not made because the usual access channels were impaired and could not be completely replaced by digital alternatives. 158,000 applicants are still unplaced. At the same time, 468,000 vocational training places were reported, 15,000 fewer than a year ago. This decline reflects the restrictions and uncertainties caused by the pandemic as well as the transformation processes in the economy. Of the training places reported, 216,000 were still unfilled in June. However, the training market is still very much in motion in June.

The full monthly report is available online at

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