Despite the rising number of infections, the German labor market is still recovering in large steps from the Corona crisis.

As the Federal Employment Agency (BA) announced on Thursday in Nuremberg, the number of unemployed in August fell for the second month in a row, contrary to the usual trend during this time of year: by 12,000 to 2.578 million.

Seasonally adjusted, i.e. taking the usual seasonal fluctuations out of the equation, it fell even more significantly: by 53,000.

Britta Beeger

Editor in business.

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Unemployment usually rises in the summer months, as some companies go on vacation and only then take on new employees.

At the same time, many young people register at least briefly as unemployed after completing their school or company training.

Contrary to the usual trend, unemployment had already fallen in July - a good sign.

261,000 Corona unemployed

The effects of the Corona crisis can still be clearly seen, but are getting smaller every month.

The corona effect calculated by the BA, which indicates how unemployment would have developed without the pandemic, currently amounts to an increase of 261,000 unemployed.

For comparison: in the spring of last year the peak was 638,000.

The unemployment rate was unchanged in August at 5.6 percent.

For the fourth month in a row, according to the BA, the number of short-time workers also fell.

According to preliminary extrapolated data, 1.59 million employees in Germany were still on short-time work in June - more recent data are not yet available - after almost six million at the height of the crisis in the spring of last year.

The number of advertisements is falling less clearly.

From August 1st to August 25th, the companies registered short-time work for 68,000 employees with the employment agencies, around a third of whom work in the auto industry and in other manufacturing sectors.

Due to the global delivery bottlenecks, short-time work is shifting back to classic industrial sectors.

Short-time work was registered for 75,000 employees in each of the two previous months.

However, the proportion of employees affected is low.

Employment is growing strongly

At the same time, employment continues to grow significantly. According to the Federal Statistical Office, 44.8 million people residing in Germany were employed in July, seasonally adjusted that was 105,000 or 0.2 percent more than in June, when there was also a strong increase. However, the number of people in employment is still well below the pre-crisis level: seasonally adjusted, 449,000 fewer people were in employment in July than in February 2020, the month before the start of the restrictions caused by the corona pandemic in Germany.

Leading indicators suggest that the upswing on the labor market could continue in the coming months. The labor market barometer of the Institute for Employment Research, which is based on a monthly survey of all local employment agencies, reached a record high in August. Despite the fourth wave of corona, the optimism of the employment agencies is growing, said research department head Enzo Weber - unemployment is therefore likely to fall further in the coming months and employment to rise. Reasons for this are also the vaccination progress and the economic upturn.

The Munich Ifo Institute also comes to a positive outlook on the basis of a monthly survey of around 9,000 companies. As a result, companies are becoming more active again in their search for employees. In the manufacturing industry, the institute's employment barometer has given way, it said. Nevertheless, companies in the electrical and mechanical engineering sectors in particular continued to plan to increase their workforce. Retail is also still looking for new employees. In the hospitality industry, however, there is restraint in view of the increasing number of corona infections.