In her new role as head of the Federal Employment Agency, former Labor Minister Andrea Nahles has announced the latest figures on the German labor market for the first time. The number of unemployed rose slightly in August. But the good news is that the energy crisis has so far caused few problems for the German labor market. The reasons for the increase are different.

The number of unemployed in Germany rose by 77,000 to 2.547 million in August compared to the previous month. As the Federal Employment Agency further announced on Wednesday in Nuremberg, the unemployment rate rose by 0.2 points to 5.6 percent. Compared to August last year, the number of unemployed fell by 31,000. “Despite the economic and political uncertainties, the labor market is robust,” said Andrea Nahles, Chairwoman of the Federal Agency. The former SPD party leader took up her new position in Nuremberg at the beginning of August and presented the Federal Agency’s statistics for the first time.

“Unemployment and underemployment increased again more strongly in August than is usual for the season,” said Nahles. “However, this is still due to the registration of Ukrainian refugees.” The refugees are now no longer registered via the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act, but via the basic security system and thus also appear in the unemployment statistics. This effect had already influenced the unemployment statistics in the two previous months. For the August statistics, the Federal Agency was able to draw on figures that were available up to August 11th.

More and more companies are urgently looking for employees

So far, the energy crisis resulting from the Ukraine war has had little impact on the labor market. According to the Federal Agency, the number of notifications of short-time work – one of the first indicators of problems in companies – was only 36,000 in August. Short-time work was actually being used by 259,000 people in Germany in June. More recent data are currently not available. In April 2020, almost six million Germans received short-time work benefits.

On the other hand, the demand for new workers remains at a very high level. In August, 887,000 vacancies were reported to the employment agencies, 108,000 more than a year ago.

From October 2021 to August 2022, 408,000 young people on the training market had registered with the agency looking for an apprenticeship. That’s 13,000 fewer than a year earlier. In August, 112,000 young women and men were still looking. At the same time, 526,000 apprenticeships were registered, 20,000 more than a year ago. 182,000 were still unoccupied in August. The Federal Agency assumes that the number of vacant training positions and unplaced applicants will continue to fall significantly by the end of September.