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Press release 001 / 2013-01-02: Number of persons in employment again reached record level in 2012

WIESBADEN – In 2012, the average number of persons in employment whose place of residence is in Germany amounted to approximately 41.5 million. This was an increase of 416,000 or 1.0% on a year earlier. According to first preliminary calculations of the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), the number of persons in employment reached a new record level for the sixth year in a row. Since 2005, the number of persons in employment increased by a total 2.66 million (+6.8%). As economic development lost some of its dynamic in the second half of 2012, however, employment rose somewhat less strongly in 2012 compared with 2011. In that year, the number of persons in employment had increased by 550,000 or 1.4%.

According to provisional estimates based on the labour force survey, on an annual average in 2012 the number of unemployed people in Germany (according to internationally comparable definition) decreased by 162,000 (–6.5%) to 2.34 million on a year earlier. The unemployment rate was down from 5.7% to 5.3% in the same period. The labour force actively available on the labour market, defined as the total of employed and unemployed persons, thus increased by 254,000 (+0.6%) to 43.9 million compared with the previous year.
Since the middle of the previous decade, the number of unemployed persons declined by a total 2.23 million (–48.8%) and thus was reduced by nearly half. 

In particular employees subject to social insurance contributions benefited from the positive development of the German labour market. As in 2010 and 2011, their number recorded a disproportionately strong increase in 2012, too. On the whole, the number of employees living in Germany increased by 410,000 (+1.1%) to some 37.0 million on an annual average in 2012. In the same period, the number of self-employed people including family workers rose by 6,000 (+0.1%) to about 4.55 million. 

According to the Federal Statistical Office's first provisional calculations, the number of persons in employment whose place of employment is in Germany amounted to about 41.6 million on an annual average in 2012. That was an increase of 422,000 persons (+1.0%) from the previous year. The difference between the number of persons in employment whose place of residence is in Germany and of those whose place of employment is in Germany can be explained by the balance of the number of resident and non-resident persons in employment commuting across the borders of Germany (balance of cross-border commuters). On an annual average in 2012, the balance of cross-border commuters, that is the difference between the number of persons in employment commuting to Germany and the number of persons in employment commuting out of the country, amounted to +54,000 people. Hence the surplus of incoming commuters exceeded the 2011 average surplus by 6,000 persons. 

In the service branches, the number of persons in employment whose place of employment is in Germany rose by a total 295,000 (+1.0%) on an annual average in 2012. Compared with a year earlier, the branch of business services accounted again for the largest part of that increase (+93,000 persons in employment or +1.7%). It was followed by public services, education, health (+87,000 persons in employment or +0.9%). In 2012, however, the rise in business services, which also includes temporary work, was considerably smaller and that in public services, education, health far bigger than in 2011. On the whole, the producing branches, too, recorded gains in employment. In industry (excluding construction), the number of persons in employment was up by 94,000 (+1.2%) in 2012, while it rose by an average 32,000 persons (+1.3%) in construction. In agriculture, forestry and fishing, the number of persons in employment in 2012 was by 1,000 persons (+0.1%) above the level of the previous year.

Current data and brief methodological descriptions of calculating employment and unemployment are available on the internet at www.destatis.de à Facts & figures à National economy & environment à Labour market à Unemployment or à Employment.

Labour force, unemployed persons and persons in employment whose place of residence is in Germany 1
YearLabour forceUnemployed persons 2Residents in employment
totalemployeesself-employed 3

1 Annual averages.
2 Results of the labour force survey (microcensus) according to the labour force concept of the International Labour Organization (ILO); persons in households aged 15 to 74 years.

3 Including unpaid family workers.

Persons in 1,000
199140,9322,15938,77335,2093,564
200443,0754,16038,91534,6584,257
200543,4414,57138,87034,4534,417
200643,3614,24539,11634,6604,456
200743,3923,60139,79135,2934,498
200843,4333,13640,29735,8174,480
200943,5513,22840,32335,8534,470
201043,5122,94640,56636,0734,493
201143,6182,50241,11636,5774,539
201243,8722,34041,53236,9874,545
Change in % on the corresponding period of the previous year
20040.96.20.3–0.03.4
20050.89.9–0.1–0.63.8
2006–0.2–7.10.60.60.9
20070.1–15.21.71.80.9
20080.1–12.91.31.5–0.4
20090.32.90.1 0.1–0.2
2010–0.1–8.70.60.60.5
20110.2–15.11.41.41.0
20120.6–6.51.01.10.1
Persons in employment whose place of employment is in Germany, by economic sector 1
YearPersons in
employment,
total
Agriculture,
forestry
and
fishing
Industry,
including
energy
ConstructionService
activities 2
1 Annual averages.
2 Trade, hotel and restaurant services, transport, financial, renting and business activities, other service activities.
Persons in 1,000
200439,0346877,8842,40828,055
200538,9766767,7412,33028,229
200639,1926407,6792,32428,549
200739,8576627,7762,35929,060
200840,3486677,9262,34629,409
200940,3706697,7262,35529,620
201040,6036637,6042,38329,953
201141,1646677,7392,42430,334
201241,5866687,8332,45630,629
Change in % on the corresponding period of the previous year
20040.3–0.6–1.3–2.71.1
2005–0.1–1.6–1.8–3.20.6
20060.6–5.3–0.8–0.31.1
20071.73.41.31.51.8
20081.20.81.9–0.61.2
20090.10.3–2.50.40.7
20100.6–0.9–1.61.21.1
20111.40.61.81.71.3
20121.00.11.21.31.0
Percentage shares of the economic sectors in the total number of persons in employment
19911003.028.57.660.9
20041001.820.26.271.9
20051001.719.96.072.4
20061001.619.65.972.8
20071001.719.55.972.9
20081001.719.65.872.9
20091001.719.15.873.4
20101001.618.75.973.8
20111001.618.85.973.7
20121001.618.85.973.7

Detailed data and long time series on persons in employment and unemployed persons are available from the tables Erwerbstätige (81000-0015) and Erwerbspersonen inklusive Erwerbslose (81000-0011) in the GENESIS-Online database.

>>> Brief methodological description employment

>>> Brief methodological description hours worked

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