Labour Market in March 2022

War in Ukraine currently not having much impact

31 Mar 2022 | Press release no.15

“The jobs market is continuing to recover. The easing of restrictions and the start of the spring recovery is causing the rate of unemployment to decrease and employment to increase. The impact of the war in Ukraine is currently only reflected sporadically in the employment market data. However, the risks emanating from a further escalation and a halt to the supply of fossil fuels, for instance, are having an effect on continued economic development,” according to the regional Chief Executive at the Federal Labour Office (BA), Daniel Terzenbach, speaking today at the monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

Unemployment figure in March:
-66,000 to 2,362,000

Unemployment figure compared to the previous year:

Unemployment rate compared to the previous month:
-0.2 percentage points to 5.1 percent

Unemployment, underemployment and joblessness

In March 2022, the number of unemployed decreased compared to the number from the previous month during the course of the spring recovery, this dropped by 66,000 to a new total of 2,362,000. Seasonally adjusted, unemployment decreased by 18,000. When compared with March of the previous year, this is lower by 465,000. When compared with March 2020, it is only higher by 27,000. The unemployment rate dropped from February to March by 0.2 percentage points to 5.1 percent and is thus 1.1 percentage points lower than in the same month in the previous year. The rate of registered and unregistered unemployed determined by the Federal Statistical Office following the ILO labour force concept amounted to 3.0 percent in February.
Underemployment, which also takes into account changes in labour market policy and short-term inability to work, dropped by 23,000 compared to the previous month after seasonal adjustments. In March 2022, this was 3,110,000 persons. This was 479,000 fewer than a year ago and 138,000 fewer than in March 2020.


At the beginning of Kurzarbeit, or short-time working, businesses had to provide a report on their predicted loss of working hours. According to current data on reviewed reports, cyclical short-time working was reported for 113,000 persons in the period between 1 and 27 March. However, due to the short-notice implementation of the statutory special regulations, this data is significantly underreported.
Current data on the actual use of the Kurzarbeit scheme is available up to January 2022. According to preliminary extrapolated data from the Federal Labour Office, in this month, cyclical short-time working compensation was paid out for 654,000 employees.

Gainful activity and employment

Gainful activity and employment subject to national insurance contributions continues to increase. According to information from the Federal Statistical Office, the number of people conducting gainful activity (according to the domestic concept) in February 2022 rose by 34,000 from the previous month, after seasonal adjustment. With 45.10 million persons, this was 678,000 higher when compared with the previous year. Employment subject to national insurance contributions increased by 71,000 from December to January 2022 once seasonally adjusted. According to projections from the BA, in January this increased by 656,000 from the previous year to 34.17 million employed. In January 2022, 7.12 million persons had a low-income job, 235,000 more than the same month in the previous year. This included 4.05 million people with the low-income job as their sole employment, and 3.07 million people in a low-income job as their side job. To a large extent, the increase from the previous year traces back to the employees in low-income side jobs.

Demand for labour

In March, the demand for new staff continued to move at a high level. 839,000 vacant positions were reported to the BA, 229,000 more than one year ago. Seasonally adjusted, the number of vacant positions reported to the BA increased by 4,000. In contrast, the newly reported positions decreased by 12,000 once seasonally adjusted. This may reflect the economic uncertainties, particularly as a result of the war in Ukraine. The BA job market index (BA-X) – an indicator of the demand for staff in Germany – decreased by 1 point in March 2022 to 135 points.

Benefit payments

In March 2022, 744,000 persons received unemployment benefits, 282,000 fewer than one year ago. In the basic provision for jobseekers (SGB II), the number of people entitled to benefits who are fit for work was 3,579,000 in March. When compared with March 2021, this was a decrease of 355,000 persons. 6.6 percent of persons of employable age living in Germany were therefore in need of assistance.

Apprenticeship market

From October 2021 to March 2022, 313,000 applicants registered for an apprenticeship position at the employment agencies and job centres. This was 9,000 fewer than in the previous-year period. From this number, 188,000 young people had not found an apprenticeship position or an alternative in March. At the same time, 443,000 apprenticeship positions were reported, 28,000 more than one year ago. 298,000 of these were still vacant. However, there is still considerable fluctuation in the apprenticeship market in March. For this reason, these numbers can only provide a preliminary assessment of the development in the current reporting year.

You can find the detailed monthly report online at

You can find more information about the effects of the economic restrictions on the labour market relating to the coronavirus pandemic here.