With an average of around 164,500 unemployed, the Hessian labor market has proven to be stable despite the consequences of the corona pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis in 2022.

As the regional directorate of the Federal Employment Agency reported on Tuesday, unemployment had already fallen in 2021 to an average of around 178,000.

In the Corona year 2020, the number was still around 185,000.

The annual average unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent in 2022 after 5.2 percent in the previous year and 5.4 percent in 2020. For December it was 4.9 percent as of the reporting date on the 14th and with an increase of 0.7 percent hardly changed compared to November.

Patricia Andreae

Editor in the Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

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Joav Auerbach from the management of the Hesse Regional Directorate therefore sees the Hessian labor market on the right track, even if employers have reported fewer vacancies in recent months.

In December, the stock was 49,357.

The Hessian companies are primarily looking for skilled workers.

Only a good fifth of the jobs reported to the employment agencies relate to helper activities.

At around 10,100 or 9.1 percent, the number of jobs added in December was well below the previous year's figure.

Compared to the previous month, there was also a decline of 6.5 percent.

More people work

At the same time, there are more and more people working.

"Although the economic situation was uncertain, there was a further increase in employees subject to social security contributions in Hesse in 2022.

There are now even more employees than before the start of the Corona crisis.” According to the employment agencies, the projected provisional value of employees subject to social security contributions for October 2022 was around 2.75 million.

This results in an increase of 46,700 or 1.7 percent compared to the previous year.

This puts Hesse slightly above the development of the federal government with 1.5 percent.

According to Auerbach, two other factors are also positive: "The steady decline in notifications of economic short-time work benefits and the fact that corporate insolvencies are at a very low level also give reason to hope for a good development in 2023." However, Auerbach also sees challenges : "The demographic development and the need for skilled workers, which is already clearly noticeable, will increasingly accompany us in the next few years and will change the demands on the employment agencies and job centers." He therefore sees the innovations in basic security as an opportunity for qualification.

“The aspects of education and sustainable mediation will be further strengthened with the basic income that has now been introduced,” says Auerbach.

Almost 70 percent of all unemployed people in Hesse received basic security benefits in December, which is now called citizen benefit.

That was 13.3 percent more than in December 2021.

Demographic change

According to employers, this is not enough.

The Association of Hessian Entrepreneurs' Associations (VhU) reports around 120,000 job vacancies.

The only thing that helps is a longer working life.

"Therefore, the deduction-free early retirement must finally be ended," demands VhU Managing Director Dirk Pollert.

"The shortage of workers and skilled workers will unfold its force from year to year with the demographic development," he predicts.

So that social security contributions do not increase immeasurably, a socio-political turnaround is necessary: ​​"with structural reforms in social security, with the mobilization of the domestic workforce and with a successful immigration of skilled workers".

For the latter, the state government and local authorities would have to create quickly reacting immigration authorities.

At the same time, according to the report by the employment agencies, people without a German passport currently make up 78,500, around 47 percent of the unemployed.

Compared to the previous year, this number increased due to the war refugees from Ukraine.

About 15,450 came from there.