Labour market in February 2022 – continued recovery before start of Ukraine war

"The upward trend in the labour market continued until February. However, the current indicators still fail to depict the Russo-Ukrainian War,“ said Detlef Scheele, Chairman of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), at today's monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

02 Mar 2022 | Press release no.10

Unemployment figures in February: -34,000 to 2,428,000
Unemployment figures compared with previous year: -476,000
Unemployment rate compared with previous month: -0.1 percent to 5,3 percent

Unemployment, underemployment and redundancies

In February 2022, the unemployment figures declined by 34,000 to 2,428,000 compared with the previous month, which, seasonally adjusted, was a drop of 33,000. Compared with February of last year, the figure fell by 476,000, a mere 32,000 higher than in February 2020. The unemployment rate decreased from January to February 2022 by 0.1 percent to 5.3 percent, and was thus 1 percent lower than in February 2021. In January, the unemployment rate determined by the Federal Statistical Office according to the ILO's labour concept was 3.2 percent.

Seasonally adjusted, the number of underemployed, when taking into account changes in labour market policies and short-term incapacity for work, fell in comparison with the previous month by 35,000. In February 2022, the figure was 3,174,000, 482,000 fewer than a year ago, and 128,000 fewer than in February 2020.

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 February inclusively, cyclical short-term announcements were made for 201,000 persons. The announcements came mainly from the manufacturing industry, trade, and the hospitality industry.

Current figures on actual use of the measures are available up until December 2021. According to preliminarily extrapolated BA figures, cyclical short-term allowances were granted to 641,000 employees this month, showing a further drop in claims up until December.

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 80,000 in January 2022 compared with the previous month. At 45.07 million persons, the number was 636,000 higher than in the previous year. Seasonally adjusted, there was an increase in jobs subject to social security contributions from November to December 2021 of 82,000. Compared with the previous year, the number rose by 603,000 to 34.3 million, according to BA predictions. In December 2021, there were 7.25 million marginally employed persons, 221,000 more than in the month before. Of these, 4.12 million were exclusively in marginal employment, and 3.12 million had a part-time job. The increase compared with the year before is due entirely to marginally employed persons in part-time work.

Labour demand

In February, the demand for new staff remained high. 822,000 jobs were registered at the BA, 240,000 more than in the previous year. After seasonal adjustments, the number of jobs registered at the BA rose by 12,000. The BA Job Index (BA‑X), an indicator of demand for manpower in Germany, rose in February 2022 by 1 percent to 136 percentage points, thus prolonging the upward trend.

Unemployment benefits

In February 2022, 807,000 persons received unemployment benefits, 316,000 fewer than the year before. In February, the number of employable beneficiaries receiving basic provision for jobseekers (SGB II) was 3,597,000; compared with February 2021, a decrease of 313,000 persons. This shows that in Germany, 6.6 percent of the employable population was dependent on help.

Training market

From October 2021 until February 2022, 284,000 applicants were registered to be in search of an apprenticeship at the employment agencies and job centres, a drop of 10,000 compared with the year before. At the same time, 417,000 apprenticeships were registered, 29,000 more than in the preceding year. In February, however, the training market was still very changeable, meaning that it was too early for an accurate assessment.