The country's economy is suffering after public life was shutdown in March in a bid to stall the spread of Covid-19 – and this is increasingly having an impact on the labour market.
Federal Employment Agency (BA) boss Detlef Scheele said he expected more than three million people across the country to be out of work, reported Spiegel on Tuesday.
“We will probably pass the three million mark this summer,” Scheele told Süddeutsche Zeitung. Unemployment was last this high five years ago.
The Institute for Labor Market and Occupational Research (IAB) had estimated that three million could be out of work as early as March.
However, the most recent figures show the number of unemployed people did not climb that high, although they rose to around 2.8 million, or 6.1 percent in May.
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A year ago in April 2019, just 4.9 percent of people were out of work – the lowest rate since the reunification of Germany 30 years ago.
Meanwhile, the number of underemployed people (those who don't have enough paid work or are not doing work that makes full use of their skills and abilities) – which includes unemployed people in training courses – is also increasing, the BA said.
Germany has put together various packages in a bid to support people through the crisis and keep people in work. But some businesses are struggling to survive.
Women hit particularly hard
But Scheele hopes the situation will improve after summer.
In order for the unemployment rate to fall again in autumn, the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions in the gastronomy and travel industry would have to take effect now, world trade would have to get going and the government's economic stimulus package would have to be “ignited”, he said.
The BA head said that the coronavirus crisis is hitting temporary employees and workers particularly hard. Youth unemployment is also on the rise.
The pandemic has had a double negative effect on women as they are more active in particularly affected industries compared to men, and therefore earn less. At the same time, they had to take on more caring tasks during the height of the crisis.
“I very much hope that four months of corona will not destroy everything that has been achieved in decades of equal rights in the labour market, said Scheele. “We must do everything we can to ensure that this does not happen.”