Unemployment in Germany has experienced a larger than anticipated increase in June, driven by challenging economic conditions, according to an official report released this week. The Federal Employment Agency (BA) revealed that the number of jobless individuals rose by 28,000 in seasonally adjusted terms, surpassing the 13,000 increase seen in May. Analysts surveyed by Reuters had predicted a 13,000 rise for the month of June.
Historically, Germany witnesses a decline in unemployment rates during the early summer. On average, in the three years prior to the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment fell by 28,000, or 1%, in June. However, this year, all 16 federal states in Germany experienced an increase in unemployment rates compared to the same month in 2022.
Labor office head Andrea Nahles expressed her concerns, stating, “The more difficult economic conditions are now also being felt in the labor market. Unemployment is rising and employment growth is losing momentum.”
As the largest economy in the European Union, Germany has consistently boasted one of the lowest unemployment rates on the continent. Nonetheless, the Labor Office reported an 8% year-on-year increase in the number of jobless individuals in June. In terms of the total number of unemployed individuals, without seasonal adjustments, the figure stands at 2,555,000.
This considerable rise in unemployment rates can be partially attributed to the influx of refugees from Ukraine. Since February 2022, over a million people have migrated from Ukraine to Germany. The impact of this significant influx is evident, with unemployment rates surging by 103,000 month-on-month, or 5%, compared to June 2021. Presently, 193,000 Ukrainian citizens are unemployed in Germany, as per official records. Furthermore, the BA’s data reveals that a total of 499,000 employable Ukrainians are registered with job centers and employment agencies in Germany, a stark increase from the mere 20,000 recorded in February 2022.
The labor office acknowledged that even excluding Ukrainian refugees, unemployment in Germany would still have risen on a year-on-year basis. In addition to the escalating jobless figures, inflation in the country unexpectedly surged to 6.4% in June, up from 6.1% in May, based on preliminary data from the German statistics office.
Germany has endured what economists term a “technical recession,” as its economy contracted for two consecutive quarters at the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023. In response, the German central bank stated on Monday that it anticipated the recession to have concluded in the spring quarter, further adding that GDP would experience a slight increase in the April to June period.
In conclusion, the resurging unemployment rates in Germany and the challenges posed by the economic conditions are cause for concern. The impact of Ukrainian refugees on the labor market, combined with rising inflation, has contributed to the country’s economic slowdown. As Germany strives to recover from the technical recession, the government and related agencies must undertake measures to mitigate the effects of unemployment and support economic growth.