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Press release 039 / 2013-01-31: 41.8 million persons in employment in December 2012

WIESBADEN – In December 2012, a total of 41.8 million persons resident in Germany were in employment according to provisional calculations of the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). Compared with December 2011, this was an increase of 291,000 persons in employment or 0.7%. The year-on-year difference has decreased considerably since the beginning of 2012 as the economic activity has slowed down. In January 2012, the year-on-year increase in the number of persons in employment resident in Germany still amounted to 1.4%. The number of unemployed was about 2.25 million in December 2012, which was a decrease of about 77,000 on a year earlier. 

According to provisional results of employment accounts, the number of persons in employment fell by 189,000 in December 2012 on November 2012 (–0.5%). After seasonal adjustment, that is, after the elimination of the usual seasonal fluctuations, the relevant number increased by 22,000 in December 2012 (+0.1%) compared with the previous month. 

In addition to the first calculation of the number of persons in employment for the current reference month of December 2012, the monthly employment results published so far for 2012 were recalculated. Based on the employment data currently available, the year-on-year rates of change now obtained for the months of August to November 2012 are by 0.1 to a maximum of 0.2 percentage points higher than the results published before. Due to the revision of the monthly values, the level of the annual average number of persons in employment for 2012 (national concept) has been corrected by +27,000 compared with the first provisional estimate published on 2 January 2013 (see press release 1/13). Consequently, the rate of change on the previous year has been revised from +1.0% to +1.1%. 

According to results of the labour force survey, the number of unemployed was down by 77,000 to 2.25 million persons in December 2012 compared with December 2011 (–3.4%). Compared with November 2012, the number of unemployed increased by 20,000 or 0.9%. When adjusted for seasonal and irregular effects, the number of unemployed declined by 22,000 to 2.24 million (–0.9%) on November 2012. The adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.3% in December 2012. 

Detailed data and long time series are available from the GENESIS-Online database. Data on persons in employment from employment accounts are available in tables 13321-0001 (months) and 81000-001 (quarters, years). Data on persons in employment and unemployed persons from the labour force survey can be found in tables 13231-0001 (months) and 81000-0011 (years).

Methodological notes:

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. 

The number of persons in employment as obtained in employment accounts and that from the labour force survey differ from each other. The differences are mainly due to the different methods and procedures applied in the two statistical systems. 

In employment accounts, the total number of persons in employment is estimated using all sources available (currently about 60 sources). The labour force survey is a continuous household survey (currently integrated in the microcensus), which is conducted every year among one percent of the population in Germany. It involves the obligation to provide information and is harmonised across the EU The number of persons in employment obtained by the labour force survey is smaller than that of employment accounts because, as experience shows, it is difficult in household surveys to entirely cover smaller activities, for example those performed by pupils and students. According to the international definition, such activities are considered as employment, too. Nevertheless, in the European Statistical System, the results of the labour force survey are used as a standard basis for calculating unemployment rates. 

Annual results, quarterly results and more monthly results are available: Employment

Under “Unemployment”, the results adjusted by means of the Berlin method (BV4.1) are additionally available (trend cycle component).


I. Employment accounts
Persons in employment whose place of residence is in Germany 1 
YearMonthOriginal valuesSeasonally adjusted 2
personschange on previous monthchange on the same month of the previous yearpersonschange on previous month

1 Results of employment accounts as part of national accounting: persons in employment whose place of residence is in Germany (resident 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 Census X-12-Arima.

 in millionin %in millionin %


II. Labour force survey
Unemployed persons and persons in employment 1 


Previous monthSame month of the previous year

1 Persons in households aged 15 to 74 years. excluding persons performing compulsory military or civilian service.

2 Share of unemployed in the labour force (persons in employment and unemployed) aged 15 to 74 years.

3 Share of persons in employment in all persons aged 15 to 74 years.

4 Trend cycle component (X-12-ARIMA method using Demetra+; calculation by Eurostat).

 Original values
 in millionin %in millionin %
Unemployed persons2.–3.4
Persons in employment40.4240.57–0.440.060.9


shares in %in %shares in %in %
Unemployment rate–3.6
Employment rate 364.164.5–0.663.50.9
 Adjusted results 4
 in millionin %in millionin %
Unemployed persons2.242.26–0.92.37–5.5
Persons in employment40.3040.250.139.821.2
 shares in %in %shares in %in %
Unemployment rate–5.4
Persons aged under 25 years8.–1.2
Persons aged 25 to 74 years4.95.0–2.05.3–7.5
Employment rate 363.963.

>>> Brief methodological description

For further information please contact:
for employment accounts:
Ulf-Karsten Keil,
tel: +49 611 75 2633

for the labour force survey:
Andreas Grau,
tel: +49 611 75 2124
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