Press August 2021: employment up 0.1% on the previous month

Number of persons in employment increased again, but is still 0.8% below pre-crisis level

Press release No. 460 of 30 September 2021

Persons in employment resident in Germany, August 2021
+0.1% on the previous month (seasonally adjusted)
+0.2% on the previous month (not seasonally adjusted)
+0.6% on the same month a year earlier

WIESBADEN – Roughly 44.9 million people resident in Germany (national concept) were in employment in August 2021 according to provisional calculations of the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). After average monthly increases of just under 60,000 people, or 0.1%, in the months from March to July 2021, the seasonally adjusted number of persons in employment rose by 65,000 (+0.1%) in August 2021 compared with the previous month. However, the number of persons in employment is still considerably below the pre-crisis level. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of persons in employment in August 2021 was down by 0.8%, or 383,000, on February 2020, the month before restrictions were imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic in Germany. In February 2021, however, the difference had been nearly twice as large, at 736,000 people.


Increase markedly higher than the average for August of the pre-crisis years 2017 to 2019

Without seasonal adjustment, the number of persons in employment in August 2021 rose by 76,000, or 0.2%, on July 2021. This month-on-month increase was significantly higher than the average recorded for August of the three pre-crisis years 2017 to 2019 (+22,000 people).

Largest year-on-year increase in employment since January 2020

Compared with August 2020, the number of persons in employment rose by 0.6% (+277,000) in August 2021, which was the fourth consecutive year-on-year increase. In February 2021, the year-on-year change rate had been -1.6%.

Until May 2021, however, this calculated positive year-on-year development was mainly due to the sharp fall in the number of persons in employment in the spring of 2020, when the measures taken to contain the coronavirus pandemic started to have a strong impact on the labour market. Nevertheless, a marked upward trend has become evident which goes beyond this base effect and continued in August. The last time employment increased even more noticeably year on year was in the pre-crisis month of January 2020, when it climbed by 0.6% (+288,000) compared with January 2019.

Please note that short-time workers are counted as persons in employment in accordance with the employment accounts and labour force survey concepts.

Unemployment rate at 3.6% in August 2021 

According to calculations based on the labour force survey, 1.57 million people were unemployed in August 2021. That was a decline of 217,000 (-12.2%) compared with August 2020. The unemployment rate was 3.6% (August 2020: 4.1%).

Adjusted for seasonal and irregular effects due, for instance, to weather conditions or strike, the number of unemployed stood at 1.54 million, which was a decline on July 2021 (-17,000 people; -1.1%). The adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6% in August 2021.

Methodological notes:

The differing comparative periods must be taken into account in all press releases on short-term indicators. Short-term economic monitoring focuses on comparisons with the previous month or previous quarter. These reflect short-term economic trends. A comparison with the previous year is intended to offer a long-term comparison of levels and is not subject to seasonal fluctuations. Owing to strong temporary decreases during the current coronavirus crisis, the results of month-on-month/quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year comparisons may differ considerably. To enable a direct comparison with the pre-crisis level, all press releases on short-term indicators available in seasonally adjusted form will, for the time being, include a comparison with February 2020 or the fourth quarter of 2019.

The number of persons in employment from the employment accounts differs from that of the labour force survey. The differences are mainly due to the different conceptual approaches (national or domestic concept) used in the two statistical systems. For more information on the reasons why the results of the labour force survey differ from those of the employment accounts please refer to the explanatory notes on the statistics.

Persons in employment and unemployed persons are counted according to the employment status concept of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Therefore, unemployment as shown here must not be confused with registered unemployment as published by the Federal Employment Agency in accordance with the German Social Code. In the European Statistical System, the results of the labour force survey are used as a standard basis for calculating unemployment rates.

The microcensus and the integrated labour force survey were redesigned both in technical and in methodological terms; the new approach was introduced at the beginning of 2020. For technical reasons, data collection for some time involved restrictions. Therefore, the results as from January 2020 were first determined by means of an estimate based on the results for the previous periods, considering current developments.

In accordance with the new European legal basis for the labour force survey, the results of the redesigned survey were published for the first time for May 2021. At the same time, the results of the period from January 2020 to April 2021 were revised on this basis. Due to the changes, the results from survey year 2020 are comparable with those of previous years only to a limited extent. As a result of changing over to the redesigned data collection, the results at the current end of the series are still subject to uncertainties and must therefore be regarded as provisional.

I. Employment accounts
Persons in employment whose place of residence is in Germany 1
YearMonthOriginal valuesSeasonally adjusted 2
personschange on
previous month
change on the same month
of the previous year
personschange on
previous month
in millionin %in millionin %
1 Results of employment accounts as part of national accounting: persons in employment whose place of residence is in Germany (national concept). The respective time series for persons in employment whose place of work is in Germany (domestic concept) are presented here.
2 Seasonal adjustment by X13-ARIMA method using JDemetra+.


II. Labour force survey
Unemployed persons and persons in employment 1 2
2021 3
Previous monthSame month of the previous year
2021 3
1 Persons in households aged 15 to 74 years.
2 Discrepancies may occur as the results are presented in a rounded form.
3 Results based on the labour force survey, provisional.
4 Share of unemployed in the labour force (persons in employment and unemployed) aged 15 to 74 years.
5 Share of persons in employment in all persons aged 15 to 74 years.
6 Trend cycle component (X-13-ARIMA method using JDemetra+; calculation by Eurostat).
Original values
in millionin %in millionin %
Unemployed persons1.571.58-1.11.78-12.2
Persons in employment41.6141.310.741.600.0
shares in %in %shares in %in %
Unemployment rate 4 3.63.7-1.84.1-11.7
Employment rate 567.166.60.767.2-0.2
Adjusted results 6
in millionin %in millionin %
Unemployed persons1.541.56-1.11.77-12.8
Persons in employment41.4541.470.041.56-0.3
shares in %in percentage pointsshares in %in percentage points
Unemployment rate 4
Persons aged under 25 years7.57.6-
Persons aged 25 to 74 years3.
Employment rate 566.866.90.067.2-0.3

Crisis Monitor enables comparison between coronavirus crisis and financial and economic crisis

The employment figures also form part of the Crisis Monitor (, by means of which the Federal Statistical Office compares the development of major short-term indicators in the corona crisis and in the financial and economic crisis of 2008/2009. The Crisis monitor complements the “Corona statistics” webpage (, which provides statistical information on the economic and social consequences of the corona pandemic.

More information:

Detailed data and long time series are available from the GENESIS-Online database. The data on persons in employment from employment accounts are available in tables 13321-0001 (months) and 13321-0002 (quarters) and 81000-0011 (years). Data on persons in employment and unemployed persons from the labour force survey can be found in tables 13231-0001 to 13231-0003 (months).

For further information:         

on employment accounts:
tel: +49 611 75 2932,

on the labour force survey:
tel: +49 611 75 3364,

contactfor further info

Employment / Unemployment

Phone: +49 611 75 2932, -4868

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