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 2015, Germany was the world's third largest trading nation, behind the United States and China. 

Overall, the labour market has continued to develop positively in Germany. Unemployment increased seasonally in August, but fell compared to the same month the previous year. Demand for labour, in terms of employment and notified vacancies, remains high.

Number of unemployed in August 2016: 2 684 289 persons

Unemployment rate in August 2016: 6.1 %

Year-on-year change: - 0.3 %

As at June 2016, according to figures from the Federal Employment Agency, employment in jobs subject to social security deductions had  increased in West and East Germany compared with the same month in the previous year: 

Number of people in jobs subject to social security deductions: 31.39 million

Year-on-year change: + 614 300 / + 2.0 %

In June 2016, of the 31.39 million people in jobs subject to social security deductions, 22.92 million, or 73 %, were working full time and 8.47 million (27 %) part time. Employment in such jobs is increasing in all of Germany's federal states; the increase was again strongest in Berlin (+ 4.1 %).

In the year-on-year comparison between sectors, the predominant picture was of growth across the board. The clearest increases in employment in June 2016 were in the sectors:

  • Home care and social sectors (+ 5.0 %)
  • Other business support services (not including temporary employment agency activities (5.8 %) 

A small contraction in employment was seen in the following sectors:

  • Financial and insurance services - 1.1 %
  • Mining, energy and water supply, waste removal - 0.9 %
  • Agriculture, forestry and fisheries - 0.3 %. 

The biggest companies in Germany in 2015 include, as in previous years, the vehicle manufacturers Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG, and the energy company Eon.

Text last edited on: 03/2017

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