The labour market in December 2022 – the labour market remains strong at the end of the year

03 Jan 2023 | Press release no.1

“In December, as is normal for this time of year, unemployment increased with the start of the winter break. When adjusted for seasonal influences, however, a fall is actually evident,” explained Andrea Nahles, Chair of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), on the occasion of the monthly press conference in Nuremberg today.

Unemployment rate in December:
+20,000 to 2,454,000
Unemployment rate compared with the previous year:
Unemployment rate compared with the previous month:
+0.1 percentage point to 5.4 percent

Unemployment, underemployment and economic inactivity

In December 2022, during the course of the winter break, unemployment increased compared with the previous month by 20,000 to 2,454,000. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of unemployed people decreased by 13,000. Compared with December last year, the number of unemployed people is 124,000 higher. However, without taking the refugees from Ukraine due to the conflict with Russia into account, unemployment would have fallen in comparison with the previous year. The unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage point to 5.4 percent, making it 0.3 higher compared with the same month last year. In November, the unemployment rate determined according to the ILO employment concept by the Federal Statistical Office was 2.8 percent.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, underemployment, which, in addition to unemployment, takes changes in labour market policy and short-term incapacity to work into account, increased markedly by 20,000 compared with the previous month. This can also be accounted for by the increased participation of Ukrainian refugees in integration courses, however. In December 2022, underemployment amounted to 3,322,000 people. That is 238,000 more than a year ago.

Short-time work

Before the start of short-time work, companies are required to submit a notification of the expected loss of work. According to the current data on the verified notifications, from 1st to 28th December inclusive, cyclical short-time work was notified for 91,000 people. 
The latest data on the actual take-up is available until October 2022. According to the initially projected data from the Federal Employment Agency, in that month, the cyclical short-time allowance was paid to 163,000 workers. In recent times, its use has therefore seen a noticeable increase.

Economic activity and employment

According to the Federal Statistical Office, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of economically active people (according to the domestic concept) rose by 50,000 in November 2022 compared with the previous month. At 45.99 million people, it was 498,000 higher than in the previous year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, from September to October 2022, employment with social security contributions increased by 9,000. According to the projections of the BA, it increased in October by 531,000 to 34.90 million employees compared with the previous year. In October 2022, 7.44 million people were in marginal “mini job” employment, 190,000 more than in the same month last year. Of this total, for 4.16 million people, this low-paid employment was their only job, and for 3.28 million it was just a part-time position. The increase in comparison with the previous year is largely due to those employed in part-time jobs for low wages. 

The demand for labour

Although it is clear that the demand for new staff has recently become weaker, it remains at a comparatively high level. In this context, 781,000 job vacancies were registered with the BA, 13,000 fewer than one year ago. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of jobs registered with the BA decreased by 7,000 compared with the previous month. In December 2022, the BA Jobs Index (BA X) – an indicator of the demand for staff in Germany, which also takes the number of registered jobs and new jobs into account – fell by 1 point to 127 points.  

Cash benefits for unemployment and persons requiring support

In December 2022, 748,000 people received unemployment benefit, 18,000 more than a year ago. In December, the number of people capable of working and entitled to benefits in terms of the Basic Support for Job Seekers (SGB II) was 3,814,000. In comparison with December 2021, this was an increase of 226,000 people. Therefore, 7.0 percent of people of working age living in Germany were in need of support.