Germany’s unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage points to 5.3 per cent for January, the labour agency reported on Thursday, as the country added 196,000 job seekers to its rolls compared to December 2018.
Experts at the agency said an increase for January is standard, as cold weather depresses demand for people in sectors like construction. The seasonally adjusted number of unemployed hit 2.4 million, said the agency, but added this was the lowest such number for a January since German reunification in 1990.
Detlef Scheele, head of the labour agency, said the numbers do not tell the whole story and said the job market remained strong. “Business’ demand for new workers remains at a very high level,” he said.
December’s rate, reported earlier this month, marked a 0.1 percentage point increase to 4.9 per cent, a figure which helped German unemployment for 2018 fall to its lowest level since reunification.
Compared to January 2018, there were 165,000 fewer people out of work for this month.
The agency recorded 3.3 million people who were underemployed, meaning they are either working fewer hours than they would like or in a job for which they are overqualified. That number was 22,000 lower than December’s figure, on a seasonally adjusted basis.
At the same time, the agency reported that it had 758,000 unfilled jobs on its books, 21,000 more than at this time in 2018.
The number of people listed as employed hit 45.1 million, an increase of 42,000 on December and 488,000 more than in January 2018. The bulk of those jobs involved people gaining positions with contracts and benefits, it reported.
It also noted that 72,000 trainee positions had been advertised between October and January, 11,000 of which remained unfilled.