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Unemployment rises in Germany as job vacancies remain at 'high level'

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Unemployment rises in Germany as job vacancies remain at 'high level'
Employees have a chat at a coworking space in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hauke-Christian Dittrich

The number of unemployed people in Germany rose to 2.696 million in August, said Employment Agency head Andrea Nahles at a presentation of labour market figures on Thursday. But the labour situation isn't all doom and gloom.

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That was 79,000 more than in July and 148,000 more than a year ago. 

“The summer break and the weak economy are leaving their mark on the labour market," Nahles said.

But Nahles also emphasised that "compared to the poor economic situation, the labour market is still in a good position."

READ ALSO: Bürgergeld: Germany's unemployment benefit to rise by 12 percent

The unemployment rate for August increased by 0.1 percentage points, bringing it to 5.8 percent. Compared to the same month last year, the rate rose by 0.2 points.

It is not unusual for unemployment to rise in the summer. Companies are less likely to hire new staff during the holiday months, and new contracts usually start only in autumn. Nevertheless, the increase this year is relatively large, said Nahles. 

Seasonally adjusted, that marks a rise of 18,000 open positions. Under-employment has also gone up: the statistic includes people who, for example, are undergoing further training.

Nahles also pointed out that the labour market barometer of the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) showed uncertainty and a gloomy mood. 

Nevertheless, she said that people shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the labour market is in "solid basic condition". In a historical context, unemployment is still low.

German Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) announced that the labour market had held its ground in August despite the difficult environment. 

More need for students and trainees

The decline in applications on the Ausbildung (training) market, which had been observed since 2017, has "fortunately come to a halt", Heil added.

"We are seeing a stabilisation," Nahles also said in Nuremberg, where she presented the statistics.

The training market was still in motion in August, Nahles said. By the balance sheet date on September 30th, the number of unfilled training places and applicants without a job will likely be significantly reduced. 

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There are currently work placement campaigns underway, said Nahles, pointing out that experience had shown that many young people could still be matched with jobs.

In August, 771,000 job vacancies were registered with the BA, 116,000 less than a year ago. The reported demand for new employees continues to be moderate, but the number of reported vacancies is still at a “comparatively high level,” she added.

READ ALSO: Why Germany's skilled worker shortage is greater than ever

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