What is the reporting rate

Data report 2021

Data on unemployment and vacancies come from the statistics of the Federal Employment Agency (BA). Due to administrative measures and reforms, the informative value of the time series on the unemployed is limited. With the revision of the second book of the Social Security Code (SGB II), the basis of labor market statistics in Germany has changed since 2005. On the one hand, the merging of unemployment and social assistance resulted in a significant increase in the number of unemployed, even if the definition of unemployment in SGB III remained unchanged. Since the reform, in principle all people without work, who claim state aid, are able to work and whose age is between 15 and retirement age are considered unemployed. The only exceptions to this rule are people who are not available to the labor market (for example due to illness or because they are school pupils or because they are involved in labor market policy measures). As a result of this change, the employment agencies are only responsible for some of the unemployed. In addition to the employment agencies, local authorities are also responsible for providing basic security for jobseekers in accordance with SGB II. The statistics of the Federal Employment Agency continue to include basic income support for jobseekers.

The unemployment rates shown here refer to all civilian labor force. This quota calculation has been the focus of reporting since 2009. Results are available for Germany as a whole from 1992 and for East and West Germany from 1994.

The rise in the number of unemployed after German reunification is not only due to the weak economic situation in the new federal states at the time. In western Germany, too, the unemployment rates rose noticeably from 1992 onwards. In 1997 the unemployment rate in the west was 9.6% and after a temporary decline it reached a new high of 9.9% in 2005.

In the east, the high unemployment is mainly due to the adjustment of the economic structure. As a result, more people initially lost their jobs than new jobs were created. On average in 1991, 1.0 million people registered as unemployed. By 1998 the number rose to 1.5 million, which corresponded to a rate of 17.8%, and then moved at a relatively high level between 17.1 and 18.7%. Only since 2006 has the number of unemployed in eastern Germany fallen noticeably again and fell continuously until 2019 to a rate of 6.4% or just under 544,000 unemployed.

The overall German development was characterized in the years 1996 to 2006 by mostly double-digit unemployment rates. Only during a positive phase between 2000 and 2002 did the rates fall slightly below 10%. The number of unemployed during this period was in the order of 4 million people. From 2007 onwards, the rate remained below the 10 percent mark and continued to decline with a few interruptions. Even the slight increase in the course of the financial market and economic crisis of 2008/2009 did not change the fundamental trend, so that the unemployment rate in 2019 reached a new low of 5.0% or 2.3 million people.
Registered unemployed, vacancies and unemployment rates License: cc by-nc-nd / 3.0 / de / (bpb)

The number of job vacancies registered with the BA averaged 774,300 in 2019. That was significantly more jobs than in the year of the economic crisis in 2009 (300,600 registered jobs). The statistics of the Federal Employment Agency only recorded 796,400 more registered jobs in 2018. Analogous to the figures for registered unemployed, the number of registered jobs is exclusively job vacancies with a placement contract registered with the employment agency. It therefore only represents a part of the macroeconomic job vacancies. Since 2000, only unsubsidized vacancies on the so-called primary labor market (without job opportunities or job creation measures) have been presented.

In order to be able to map the vacancy more comprehensively, the Institute for Employment Research of the Federal Employment Agency conducts a quarterly company survey. This provides comparable results from 2011 and is representative for all companies with at least one employee who is subject to social insurance. In 2019, there were on average slightly less than 1.1 million vacancies on the primary labor market. This makes it clear that there are far more vacancies to be filled in the economy as a whole than reported to the employment agency. The reporting rate in 2019 was 72%.