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The labour market in August 2017

Further positive development
31 Aug 2017 | Press Release No. 19

"The labour market continues to develop positively. Unemployment rose again slightly in August due to seasonal reasons. However, it has declined further in the season. Employment has, once again, grown strongly and the demand for new employees continues to grow to a high level", said the Chairman of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), Detlef Scheele, today at the monthly press conference in Nuremberg.

Unemployment rate in August:

+27,000 to 2,545,000

Number of unemployed compared to the previous year:


Unemployment rate compared to the previous month:

+0.1 percentage points to 5.7 percent

Unemployment, underemployment and inactivity

The number of unemployed persons has increased by 27,000 to 2,545,000 from July to August. Adjusted for the usual seasonal influences, unemployment fell by 5,000 compared to the previous month. Compared to the previous year, 139,000 fewer people were registered as unemployed.

Underemployment, which also includes individuals participating in labour market-relieving measures and those with short-term inability to work, has declined by a seasonally adjusted rate of 22,000, which is a rate similar to that of unemployment. Overall underemployment in August 2017 amounted to 3,481,000 individuals. That was 86,000 less than a year ago. Thus, it fell less sharply than the unemployment in the previous year. This is caused by extending the labour market policies, especially for refugees, which was not the case during the previous year.

The unemployment, determined by the ILO information gathering concept of the Federal Statistical Office, amounted to 1.55millionin July, and the unemployment rate was 3.6 per cent.

Gainful employment and employment subject to social security insurance

Gainful employment and employment subject to social security insurance continued to grow strongly, compared with the previous year. According to the Federal Statistical Office, in the month of July, the seasonally adjusted number of gainfully employed persons (using the domestic concept) rose by 42,000, compared to the previous month. At44.39 million, it was 698,000 higher than in the previous year. The increase is mainly due to more jobs subject to social security insurance. According to the numbers issued by the BA, this number increased by 53,000 seasonally adjusted from May to June. Overall, in June, according to data rounded upwards, 32.18 million of people are in employment subject to social security insurance. This number is 809,000 more than the previous year. It should be noted that the June rise is somewhat over-estimated because the value of June 2016 is estimated to be 60,000 due to data processing errors.

Labour Demand

The demand for labour is growing dynamically, at a high level. In August there were 765,000 jobs reported to the BA, 80,000 more than in the previous year. Seasonally adjusted demand rose by 9,000 compared to the previous month. The employment index of the Federal Employment Agency (BA-X) - an indicator of the demand for labour in Germany - rose by 1 point to 239 points in August 2017. The previous year's gap is still very clear, with a plus of 20 points.

Cash Payments

A total of 732,000 persons received unemployment benefits in the month of August 2017, 43,000 fewer than in the previous year. The number of employable persons eligible for unemployment benefit within the framework of the Basic Insurance for Employment Seekers (SGB II) was 4,387,000 in the month of August. Compared with August 2016, this was an increase of 69,000 persons. 8.1 percent of the working-age population were thus in need of help.

Apprentice Training Market

The apprentice training market has been developing steadily in 2016/17. From October 2016 to August 2017,532,000 applicants registered for a training position. That is 2,000 more than in the previous year. At the same time, 528,000 training positions were registered, 1,000 more than the year before. Nationwide, the number of training positions and the number of applicants is almost balanced. However, as in previous years, there are regional, occupational and qualifying disparities which make the balancing of supply and demand considerably more difficult. In August 2017 98,000 applicants were still unprovided for. In addition, 52,000 registered applicants were looking for a training place, although they already have an alternative (e.g. further schooling or entry qualification). They faced 136,000 unoccupied training centres nationwide. Most of the unoccupied training posts were reported in August 2017, for retail merchants, (11,000 training offers), salespeople (9,000), and cooks (5,000). There are also good chances for an apprenticeship place in construction jobs, in many craft trades such as meat and bakery trade, in electrical trades, in sanitary, heating and air-conditioning technology, eye optics, hearing aid acoustics, as well as in warehousing and logistics.