The regions in Germany are affected by short-time work in very different ways: Short-time work was registered during the Corona crisis, particularly in areas with a strong auto, metal and electrical industry and in the holiday areas. This is shown by an analysis by the union-related Hans Böckler Foundation. In March and April, more than half of all those subject to social insurance were employed in short-time work at the VW locations in Emden (56 percent) and Wolfsburg (52.2 percent), according to the study by the Economic and Social Sciences Institute (WSI) of the foundation. The nationwide average was 31 percent in April.
According to the study, above-average short-time work was also registered in areas with a lot of tourism: there were high rates in the districts of Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald (41.4 percent), Oberallgäu (40.4) and Garmisch-Partenkirchen (35.1). On the North and Baltic coasts, the values in Wittmund (35.6 percent), Ostholstein (34.7) and Western Pomerania-Rügen (35.5) were above average.
Small businesses reacted quickly
Germany's lowest short-time work rates were found in cities with strong chemical and pharmaceutical companies. The scientists determined a quota of only 11.6 percent for BASF's Ludwigshafen site, and 16.2 percent of the employees at Bayer's Leverkusen site were on short-time work.
The crisis "hit many small businesses hard and they responded quickly with short-time work," said WSI researcher Helge Emmler. According to WSI, the fact that short-time work was reported primarily in regions where there were fewer large companies indicated that the measure was used as needed.
The researchers evaluated regional data from the Federal Employment Agency (BA). However, these figures are likely to be significantly higher than those of the actually short-time employees, since companies would often have registered short-time work as a precaution for larger groups. Regional data on actual short-time work would only be available in a few months.
Unemployment rises despite short-time work
The Ifo Institute analyzed short-time work in the federal states last week. After that, Bavaria was the most affected by short-time work. In May, the Munich economists estimate that 26 percent of employees subject to social security contributions were on short-time work. In total, the economists came to around 1,469 million short-time workers in Bavaria. In absolute terms, the most populous federal state after North Rhine-Westphalia achieved the highest value in the country comparison.
Despite the massive use of short-time work, unemployment also rose - also with great regional differences. According to WSI calculations, unemployment rates rose particularly sharply due to corona in the tourist regions of Western Pomerania-Rügen (3.2 percentage points) and Wittmund in East Frisia (2.6). But the unemployment rate also rose significantly in Berlin (2.5), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (2.4), Berchtesgadener Land and Wilhelmshaven (both 2.3 percentage points). The federal average increased the rate from March to May by 1.3 percentage points.
The federal states of Berlin and Bremen had recently called for short-time work benefits to be increased in order to help employees who were particularly hard hit by the Corona crisis. The head of the CSU state group in the Bundestag, Alexander Dobrindt, spoke in favor of an extension of the current regulation for short-time work benefits beyond 2020.