The German labor market has proven to be robust at the beginning of the new year.

The number of unemployed rose sharply in January compared to December, as the Federal Employment Agency (BA) announced on Tuesday in Nuremberg: by 162,000 to 2.616 million.

According to their information, however, this is a normal increase for this time of year, which is related, among other things, to the winter break in construction, gastronomy and agriculture.

Britta Beeger

Editor in business and responsible for "The Lounge".

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Adjusted for the typical seasonal fluctuations, however, unemployment fell for the second month in a row - and this despite the energy crisis and high inflation: by 15,000.

The unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage points to 5.7 percent.

"The labor market remained stable at the beginning of the year," said the Federal Agency's CEO, Andrea Nahles.

However, the effects of the geopolitical and economic uncertainties are “still evident”.

More short-time workers again

For example, underemployment, which, in addition to unemployment, also includes people who are ill at short notice or are taking part in labor market policy measures, rose by 3,000 to 3.455 million, seasonally adjusted, compared to the previous month.

The BA attributes this, among other things, to the fact that Ukrainian refugees are increasingly taking part in integration courses.

The number of employees on short-time work has also increased noticeably.

In November - more recent data are not yet available - there were 208,000 people, after 138,000 in October and 100,000 in September.

In addition, demand from companies for new employees continued to decline slightly.

In January, 764,000 jobs were registered with the BA, 27,000 fewer than a year ago.

According to the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden, the seasonally adjusted number of employed persons increased only slightly in December compared to the previous month: by 21,000 people or 0.0 percent to 45.7 million.

In November, seasonally adjusted employment had risen by 33,000, an increase of 0.1 percent.

Not seasonally adjusted, the number of people in work fell significantly in December – as is usual at this time of year – by 125,000 or 0.3 percent.

Previously, the number of people in employment had risen to a new high every month since September 2022.

The decline in December 2022 was just as strong as the December average for the three pre-crisis years 2017 to 2019.