Short overview of the labour market


North Rhine-Westphalia borders Lower Saxony to the north and north-east, Hessen to the south-east, Rhineland-Palatinate to the south and Belgium and the Netherlands to the west. With almost 18 million inhabitants, it is the most populous of all the federal states, and the fourth-largest in terms of surface area. Of Germany’s 81 largest cities, 30 are located in North Rhine-Westphalia.


North Rhine-Westphalia has one of the strongest economies of all Europe’s metropolitan regions. Among other things, it is the main hub of Germany’s energy industry and Europe’s largest energy region. The Rhine-Ruhr conurbation in the heart of the state, with over ten million inhabitants, is one of the 36 largest metropolitan areas in the world.


The unemployment rate in North Rhine-Westphalia was 7.7 % as of March 2021, compared with the national average of 6.3 %, an increase of 1.0 percentage points on the previous year. Compared to the same month last year, male unemployment in February 2021 increased by 64 100 or 17.4 %, whilst female unemployment increased by 51 500 or 18.0 %. In the reporting month 43.8 % of the total number of unemployed persons were women; in the same month last year this percentage stood at 43.6 %.


As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the number of people in employment in North Rhine-Westphalia fell compared to the previous year. However, compared to November 2020, employment subject to social security contributions has increased again. The various sectors are also feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic:


In addition, fewer jobs remain registered than before the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of vacancies posted also fell compared to January 2021, adjusted for seasonal and calendar effects.


© Statistics from the Federal Employment Agency – February and March 2021


Sources used

Where are the available jobs?


In the following occupational categories there were more vacancies than qualified unemployed persons:


This interactive page provides more details on occupations, requirements, employees subject to social security contributions, gender, working hours, age, unemployment, job vacancies, how long vacancies remain open, pay, numbers of skilled workers and other information:  Regional information can also be viewed for each Land.


© Statistics from the Federal Employment Agency – February 2021


Where are the available workers?


There were on average 4.49 unemployed applicants for each reported job vacancy in North Rhine-Westphalia, compared with a national average of 3.45. It should be noted that, as a result of containment measures against the spread of the coronavirus in place since April 2020, unemployment has risen sharply and the number of registered jobs has fallen sharply. This has affected the various activities and professions to differing degrees. The effects of the current situation have in some cases overridden certain long-term developments in the supply of and demand for skilled workers.


The following are the main occupational categories in which there is currently a surfeit of qualified unemployed persons:


© Statistics from the Federal Employment Agency – February 2021