The labour market in November 2021

Still on the way to recovery

30 Nov 2021 | Press release no.41

"In the last few months, the labour market has continued to recover. There are still no noticeable side-effects of the alarming current COVID-19 situation in Germany", said Detlef Scheele, Chairman of the BA [German Federal Employment Agency], today at the monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

Unemployment figures in November:

-60,000 to 2,317,000

Unemployment figures compared with previous year:


Unemployment rate compared with previous month:

-0.1 percent to 5.1 percent

Unemployment, underemployment and redundancies

The number of unemployed fell significantly in November 2021 compared with the month before, by 60,000 to 2,317,000. Seasonally adjusted, it thus dropped by 34,000. Compared with November of the previous year, it was a drop of 382,000. The unemployment rate sank by 0.1 percent to 5.1 percent, 0.8 percent lower than in November 2020. The unemployment rate determined by the Federal Statistical Office according to the ILO's labour concept was 3.0 percent in October.

The number of underemployed, when taking into account changes in labour market policies and short-term incapacity for work, was 3,095,000 in November, 401,000 fewer than the year before.

Short time

Before the start of short-time work, plants must announce their decision concerning expected work losses. According to current data on examined announcements, from 1 to 24 November inclusively, cyclical short-term announcements were made for 104,000 persons. Along with the manufacturing industry, which has had to cope with persistent supply bottlenecks, the hospitality industry is again reporting an increase in short time work.

Current figures on actual use of the measures are available up until September 2021. According to preliminarily extrapolated BA figures, cyclical short-term allowances were granted to 751,000 employees this month, showing a further drop in claims. The peak was in April 2020, involving almost 6 million workers.

Employment and jobs

Employment and jobs subject to social security contributions are on the increase. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of employed persons (according to the domestic concept) rose, seasonally adjusted, by 34,000 in October 2021 compared with the previous month. The figure of 45.34 million was 289,000 higher than the year before. Seasonally adjusted, there was an increase in jobs subject to social security contributions from August to September of 46,000. Compared with the previous year, the number of workers in jobs with mandatory social security payments rose according to BA predictions by 522,000 to 34.31 million. The marginally employed recovered further following the measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, they numbered 7.27 million, seasonally adjusted a significant increase of 30,000 compared with the previous month.

Labour demand

In November, the demand for new staff remained high. 808,000 jobs were registered at the BA, 208,000 more than the previous year. After seasonal adjustments, the number of jobs registered at the BA had risen by 15,000. The BA Job Index (BA‑X), an indicator of demand for manpower in Germany, rose in November 2021 by 2 points to 128 points, 30 more than the value of November 2020. The BA-X also superseded the figure of March 2020, the last reference month before the effects of the initial pandemic measures became visible in the labour market.

Unemployment benefits

In November 2021, 716,000 persons received unemployment benefits, 324,000 fewer than the year before. In November, the number of employable beneficiaries receiving basic provision for jobseekers (SGB II) was 3,636,000. Compared with November 2020, this meant a decrease of 176,000 persons. This shows that in Germany, 6.7 percent of the employable population was dependent on help.