Press CORRECTION: Employment reaches a new high in 2023

CORRECTION: Due to an error in the 3rd paragraph, the press release of 2 January 2024 has to be corrected. The correction is printed in bold.

Number of persons in employment up 333,000 (+0.7%) on previous year

Press release No. 001 of 2 January 2024

WIESBADEN – On an annual average, there were roughly 45.9 million persons in employment in 2023 whose place of employment was in Germany. This was the highest level since German unification in 1990. According to a first estimate of the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), the average number of persons in employment in 2023 rose by 333,000 (+0.7%) on the previous year. The number of persons in employment therefore reached a new all-time high. This comes after employment numbers in 2022 beat the previous record set in 2019 (45.3 million) by 320,000, or 0.7%. In 2020, the Covid-19 crisis had put an end to the upward trend in employment of 14 years and reduced the number of persons in employment by 361,000 (-0.8%). In the course of the catch-up process following the pandemic, employment initially only rose slightly in 2021 by 69,000 persons (+0.2%) but rebounded strongly in 2022 with an additional 612,000 persons in employment (+1.4%).


The immigration of foreign labour was one of the reasons for the increase in employment in 2023. In addition, there was a higher labour force participation of the domestic population. These two contributions to growth more than offset the dampening effects of demographic change on the labour market, which is expected to lead to a significant decline in the working-age population in the medium term (see press release no. 511 of 2 December 2022 on the subject).

Service branches with above-average employment growth

Nine in every ten additional workers found a job in the service sectors, which recorded total employment gains of 295,000 people, or 0.9%, in 2023 to boast approximately 34.6 million persons in employment. The largest absolute increase here was recorded for public services, education, health, which accounted for an additional 116,000 persons in employment, or +1.0%. The number of persons in employment in this branch also increased substantially during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 and grew by an additional 191,000 workers (+1.6%) in 2022. The trade, transport, accommodation and food services sector recorded the second biggest absolute increase, with an additional 87,000 persons in employment (+0.9%). Employment in this sector had dropped significantly during the pandemic. Despite a substantial increase in 2022 (+176,000 persons or +1.8% on the previous year), this sector was still down 64,000 persons (-0.6%) in 2023 compared with the 2019 pre-crisis level. In business services, which include temporary employment agency activities, employment rose by 47,000 people (+0.8%) in 2023. The increase in the number of persons in employment in the information and communication sector stood at 39,000, or 2.6%, and was therefore well above average.

Industry excluding construction with comparatively weak growth

Employment growth was much smaller outside the service sector. In industry (excluding construction), the number of persons in employment only rose slightly by 25,000 (+0.3%) in 2023 to roughly 8.1 million. With a slight increase of 35,000 persons (+0.4%) also reported in the previous year, employment in this sector is still far below its pre-crisis level. Positive contributions came again from construction, which recorded an increase of 15,000 persons in employment (+0.6%) to roughly 2.6 million. This shows that the good situation in the construction industry continued far into 2023. 5.8% of all persons in employment worked in construction in 2023. With the exception of 2015, employment in this sector has risen consistently since 2009 and most recently exceeded the 2019 level by 97,000 persons, or 3.8%.

In agriculture, forestry and fishing, however, the number of persons in employment was down by 2,000 compared with 2022. This equates to a decline of 0.4% to 555,000 and is a continuation of the negative trend seen in the previous years.

More employees, fewer self-employed

The positive development in the German labour market was largely due to the number of employees which, on an annual average, rose by 363,000 (+0.9%) to 42.1 million in 2023. A major factor contributing to the increase was the positive development of the number of employees subject to social insurance. Slight employment gains were also recorded in the number of persons employed in marginal jobs (on a low-pay or short-term basis, in job opportunities). However, these were still too small to offset the pandemic-related job losses. By contrast, the downward trend observed for 12 years among self-employed persons including family workers continued in 2023. Their number fell by 30,000 to 3.9 million (-0.8%) compared with 2022.

Slight decrease in number of unemployed

Provisional estimates based on the labour force survey indicate that the number of unemployed people (according to the internationally comparable ILO definition) in Germany fell slightly by 9,000 (-0.7%) to 1.3 million on an annual average in 2023, year on year. The active labour force available in the labour market, defined as the total of persons in employment and unemployed persons, increased by 314,000 (+0.7%) to 47.1 million in the same period. The unemployment rate, which represents unemployed persons as a percentage of the labour force, fell from 2.9% in the previous year to 2.8% in 2023.

Methodological notes:

The results presented are a first estimate of the development of employment in 2023 as a whole. The Federal Statistical Office will release first provisional results for employment figures for November 2023 on 3 January 2024.

Persons in employment and unemployed persons are counted according to the employment status concept of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Therefore, the unemployment figures shown here differ from registered unemployment as determined and published by the Federal Employment Agency in accordance with the German Social Code. In the European Statistical System, the results of the labour force surveys are used as a standard basis for calculating unemployment rates.

More information:

A table containing annual results on the numbers of persons in employment and unemployed in the domestic territory by economic sector is shown on the employment page of the Federal Statistical Office’s website. Detailed data and long time series are available from the GENESIS-Online database:annual time series on persons in employment and employees in table 81000-0015 and on the labour force including unemployed in table 81000-0011.

Labour market results are also available on Dashboard Germany at ( (only in German). This data portal of the Federal Statistical Office combines up-to-date indicators from official statistics producers and other data providers on the topics of the economy, finance, health and mobility. The portal also contains the Economic Pulse Monitor (only in German) tool for real-time economic monitoring.

Special webpage on skilled labour:

A special webpage of the Federal Statistical Office combines facts and figures on the subject of skilled labour ( (only in German). It provides data on demography, employment, economic activity, education and immigration. The information offered ranges from projections of the future size of the labour force to analyses of the labour supply and data on labour migration and the vocational training market. New information is added continually.

contactfor further info


Phone: +49 611 75 4502

Contact Form

More on this topic