Short overview of the labour market

North Rhine-Westphalia borders Lower Saxony to the north and north-east, Hesse 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 80 largest cities, 29 are located in North Rhine-Westphalia. The Rhine-Ruhr conurbation in the heart of the state, with around ten million inhabitants, is one of the 30 largest metro-politan areas in the world. The state capital is Düsseldorf.

In September 2017, the unemployment rate in North Rhine-Westphalia was 7.3%, the national rate being 5.5%. North Rhine-Westphalia therefore has the fifth-highest unemployment rate when compared with other regions of Germany.

In December 2016, a total of 6 676 900 people were employed in jobs subject to social security deductions. This represented a year-on-year increase of 2.04% in the number of people employed in jobs subject to social security deductions.

The main sources of employment in North Rhine-Westphalia included:

•    Metalworking
•    Production of foodstuffs, luxury goods and tobacco products
•    Editing and journalism

In percentage terms, the strongest jobs growth between February 2016 and February 2017 was recorded in the following sectors:

•    Temporary employment agency activities (+7.8%)
•    Residential care and social work activities (+5.2 %)
•    Business support services (not including temporary employment agency activities) (+4.3%)

Between February 2016 and February 2017 a minimal decline in jobs was experienced in the areas of provision of financial and insurance services (-0.5%) and manufacture of predominantly consumer goods (-0.3%) and, once again, in the mining, energy and water supply, and waste management sectors (-0.1%).

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Where are the available jobs?

With its unemployment rate of 7.3% (national average: 5.5%), jobseekers may encounter more difficulties in some areas.

In September 2017, jobseekers looking for work in North Rhine-Westphalia will find the lowest unemployment rates in the following rural districts and/or towns:

•    Coesfeld (2.9%)
•    Borken (3.7%)
•    Olpe (3.9%)

•    Most vacancies in September 2017 were in the following rural districts and/or towns and cities:
•    Cologne
•    Dortmund

In September 2017, there were an average of 4.3 unemployed applicants for each notified job vacancy in North Rhine-Westphalia was , compared with a national average of 3.3.

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

•    Care for the elderly
•    Train driving
•    Healthcare, nursing, emergency medical services, midwifery
•    Mechatronics and automation
•    Energy engineering
•    Plumbing, sanitation, heating and air conditioning
•    Non-medical therapy and alternative medicine
•    Tax consultancy
•    Plastics and rubber manufacturing and processing
•    Paint technology
•    Metal production
•    Metalworking
•    Metal finishing
•    Metal construction and welding
•    Precision engineering and tool engineering
•    Automotive, aerospace and naval engineering
•    Surveying and cartography
•    Civil engineering
•    Utility supply and waste disposal
•    Medical, orthopaedic and rehabilitation technology

Where are the available workers?

With an unemployment rate of 7.3% in September 2017, North Rhine-Westphalia generally still offers employers good prospects of recruiting suitably qualified staff to fill their vacancies. Employers in North Rhine-Westphalia will find the highest unemployment rates and a good supply of labour in the following rural districts and/or towns and cities:

•    Gelsenkirchen (13.9%)
•    Duisburg (12.2%)
•    Herne (11.9%)

The main occupational categories which currently have an oversupply of qualified unemployed persons are as follows:

•    Theatre, film and television production
•    Stage, costume and prop design
•    Specialist trade in books, art, antiques and music
•    Company management and board of directors
•    Building technology
•    Public relations
•    Arts and crafts, and visual arts
•    Theology and community work
•    Musical, singing and conducting activities
•    Product and industrial design
•    Linguistics and literature
•    Care of animals
•    Textile processing
•    Event, camera and sound engineering
•    Teaching in schools providing a general education

In addition, there is a large supply of labour for many semi-skilled occupations in agriculture; horticulture; care of animals; food preparation; building construction; painting and plastering work, preservation of structures; site security, personal security, fire protection, occupational safety; cleaning; sales; the food service industry; office and secretarial work; body care; education, social work, inclusive special needs education and care; household management and consumer advice.

With its high concentration of higher education institutions, North Rhine-Westphalia also has a good supply of graduate jobseekers in almost every academic profession.