Labour market information

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Germany - National Level

Short overview of the labour market

With 81 million inhabitants, Germany has the fourth-largest national economy and industrial base in the world. Well over 90 % of all German companies are small and medium-sized enterprises, which account for two-thirds of all jobs and more than half of Germany’s economic output. In 2013, Germany came third behind China and the United States in terms of foreign trade. According to the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammertag, DIHK), Germany should have pushed the USA into third place amongst the world’s top exporting nations by as early as 2014. The bulk of its exports go to European countries.
According to the Federal Statistical Office, the real GDP of the Federal Republic of Germany increased by 1.6 % in 2014, to EUR 2.9 billion. Thus in 2014, growth in the German economy was stronger than in the previous year, when the increase in economic output was 0.1 %. According to the latest figures, GDP, adjusted for prices, the season and the year, grew again by 0.7 % in the third quarter of 2014. For the second half of 2014, there was even an increase of 0.4 % compared to the first half, after adjustments for seasonal and calendar effects. Private and state spending made a particularly positive contribution, whereas foreign trade did not provide any impetus towards growth compared to the previous year. The effects of uncertainty concerning foreign trade became increasingly apparent, especially with regard to the conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine.
The labour market continues to demonstrate a solid level of demand. From January 2015 to February 2015, unemployment sank by 14 600 or 3 % to 3 017 000. This brought the unemployment rate down to 7.0 %. In the last three years, unemployment in September has decreased on average by 121 000 or 4 %. Compared to the previous year, 41 000 or 1 % fewer people were registered as unemployed in September. Germany still has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe.
Underemployment (excluding short-time working) showed a year-on-year decrease of 102 000, and in September 2014 amounted to 8.4 %.
The number of people in gainful employment and employment subject to social security deductions continued to rise in 2015 when sesonally adjusted. The level is significantly higher than that of the previous year. According to the Federal Employment Agency, the number of people in paid work was 42.48 million in January 2015, which represents a year-on-year increase of 408 000.
According to extrapolated figures from the Federal Employment Agency, in December 2014 employment in jobs subject to social security deductions rose year-on-year by 584 000 to 30.5 million. Employment in jobs subject to social security deductions rose in all of Germany’s federal states; the increase was strongest in Berlin and weakest in Saxony-Anhalt. In sectoral terms too, there is growth almost everywhere – particularly in the real estate / scientific and technical services sector, the metal, electrical and steel industries, and health care and social work. Falls in employment occurred mainly in the financial and insurance services sector, and in the mining, energy and water supply, and waste management sector.

Text last edited on: 06/2015

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