The labour market in May 2022

still buoyant despite Ukraine War

31 May 2022 | Press release no.27

"In May, unemployment and underemployment again decreased. Employment continues to increase, and the demand for new workers is still at a very high level. However, the Russian war against Ukraine and supply bottlenecks mean that the prospects are gloomy. On the other hand, trade and services are benefitting from the termination of Covid-19-related restrictions," commented Detlef Scheele, Chairman of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), on the occasion of today's monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

Unemployment figures in May:
-50,000 to 2,260,000

Unemployment figures compared with previous year:

Unemployment rate compared with previous month:
-0.1 percent to 4.9 percent

Employment, underemployment and redundancies

The number of people out of work decreased in May 2022 by 50,000 to 2,260,000 compared with the previous month due to the sustained spring recovery. Seasonally adjusted, this meant a drop in unemployment of 4,000. Compared with May of last year, the figure fell by 428,000. From April to May, the unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percent to 4.9 percent, and was thus 1.0 percent lower than in the previous month. In April, 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 5,000. In May 2022, the figure was 3,022,000, 435,000 fewer than a year ago.

Short time

Before the start of short-time work, businesses must announce their forecast concerning expected work losses. According to current data on examined announcements, from 1 to 24 May inclusively, cyclical short-term announcements were made for 77,000 persons.

Current figures on actual use of the measures are available up until March 2022. According to preliminarily extrapolated BA figures, cyclical short-term allowances were granted to 553,000 employees this month, showing a drop in claims and in the number of persons last reported to be working short time.

Employment and jobs

Employment and jobs subject to social security contributions are still on the increase. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of employed persons (according to the domestic concept) rose, seasonally adjusted, by 55,000 in April 2022 compared with the previous month. At 45.38 million persons, the number was 771,000 higher than in the previous year. Seasonally adjusted, there was an increase in jobs subject to social security contributions from February to March 2022 of 31,000. Compared with the previous year, the number rose by 699,000 to 34.33 million, according to BA predictions. In March 2022, there were 7.16 million marginally employed persons, 258,000 more than in the month before. Of these, 4.05 million were exclusively in marginal employment, and 3.11 million were part-time low earners. The increase on the previous year is very much due to the part-time marginally employed.

Labour demand

In May, the demand for new staff remained very high. 865,000 jobs were registered at the BA, an increase of 211,000 on the previous year. After seasonal adjustments, the number of jobs registered at the BA rose by 9,000. The BA Job Index (BA‑X), an indicator of demand for manpower in Germany, rose in May 2022 by 1 percent to 139 percentage points.

Unemployment and care benefits

In May 2022, 686,000 persons received unemployment benefits, 195,000 fewer than the year before. In May, the number of employable beneficiaries receiving basic provision for jobseekers (SGB II) was 3,542,000. Compared with May 2021, this was a decrease of 358,000 persons. This shows that in Germany, 6.5 percent of the employable population was dependent on help.

Training market

From October 2021 to May 2022, 358,000 applicants registered for training positions at the employment agencies and job centres, 8,000 fewer than the year before. Of these young persons, 167,000 had found neither an apprenticeship nor an alternative. At the same time, 482,000 training positions were available, 32,000 more than in the previous year. 275,000 of these were still unoccupied. In May, however, the training market was still buoyant, so these figures only provide an interim forecast in the year under review.