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Press release 046 / 2018-02-14: 4th quarter of 2017: employment up 1.5 percent

Employment growth by industriesEnlarge picture

WIESBADEN – In the fourth quarter of 2017, the number of persons in employment whose place of employment was in Germany amounted to roughly 44.7 million according to provisional calculations of the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). Compared with a year earlier, the number of persons in employment was up by 642,000, or 1.5%, which was due to the good economic situation. Hence, a year-on-year growth rate of 1.5% was recorded for each of the four quarters of 2017.

Compared with the previous quarter, the number of persons in employment in the fourth quarter of 2017 rose by 201,000 (+0.5%). Although employment growth in the last quarter of a year is quite usual, the increase in 2017 was above average. On an average of the last five years, employment in the last quarter of a year rose by just 165,000 people. After seasonal adjustment, that is, after the elimination of seasonal fluctuations, the relevant number in the fourth quarter of 2017 increased by 150,000 (+0.3%) compared with the third quarter.

Employment growth was based in particular on an increase in the number of employees, which - compared with a year earlier - rose by 667,000 (+1.7%) to 40.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. The number of employees subject to social insurance contributions increased again, whereas the total of marginally employed people (including persons in marginal or short-term employment) continued to decrease. Also, the number of self-employed including family workers decreased by 25,000 (–0.6%) to under 4.3 million in the same period.

Service sector had largest share in growth
In the fourth quarter of 2017, the rise in the total number of persons in employment on the same quarter a year earlier was mainly due to the growth in the service sector. The largest absolute employment gains were recorded for public services, education, health (+212,000 people or +1.9%), followed by business services (+164,000 people or +2.7%) and trade, transport, accommodation and food services (+111,000 people or +1.1%). In industry (excluding construction), the number of persons in employment was up by 62,000 (+0.8%) and in construction by 40,000 (+1.6%) in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared with a year earlier. In agriculture, forestry and fishing, it rose by 3,000 people (+0.5%).

Total hours worked rose 0.7 percent
According to first provisional results of the Institute for Employment Research of the Federal Employment Agency, the average number of hours worked per person in employment was down 0.8% to 338.8 hours in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared with the fourth quarter of 2016. The total number of hours worked, that is, the number of persons in employment multiplied by the hours worked per person in employment, was up by 0.7% to 15.1 billion hours in the same period.

Note on the results published earlier
In addition to calculating first results of the number of persons in employment and the number of hours worked for the fourth quarter of 2017, the results published so far for the first three quarters of 2017 were recalculated. For this purpose, all additional sources of employment statistics that had become available by the time of recalculation were taken into account. At the level of the overall economy, the recalculation did not lead to any changes in the year-on-year change rates of the three quarters compared with the results published earlier. Also, the annual result of 44.3 million persons in employment and the year-on-year change rate of +1.5%, which were communicated in the press release of 2 January 2018 (No. 01/18), remained unchanged despite the recalculation.

Persons in employment and hours worked
Quarter 1
Persons in employment 2Hours worked 3
employed 4
by persons in
person in
Persons in 1,000mn hourshours
1 For persons in employment: annual and/or quarterly averages.
2 Results of employment accounts as part of national accounts; persons in employment whose place of employment is in Germany (domestic concept).
3 Source: Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (Institute for Employment Research) of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency), Nuremberg.
4 Including family workers.
qtr = quarter
20141st qtr42,22037,7964,42414,801350,6
2nd qtr42,64138,2104,43113,764322,8
3rd qtr42,86138,4364,42514,964349,1
4th qtr42,96538,5984,36714,807344,6
20151st qtr42,51738,1544,36314,872349,8
2nd qtr42,99838,6274,37113,899323,3
3rd qtr43,28638,9084,37815,071348,2
4th qtr43,47639,1504,32615,082346,9
20161st qtr43,09638,7584,33814,810343,7
2nd qtr43,55739,2064,35114,262327,4
3rd qtr43,83239,4814,35115,166346,0
4th qtr44,06639,7734,29315,047341,5
20171st qtr43,74039,4344,30615,268349,1
2nd qtr44,20739,8804,32714,186320,9
3rd qtr44,50740,1784,32915,363345,2
4th qtr44,70840,4404,26815,147338,8
Change in % on the corresponding period of the previous year
20141st qtr0.81.0–
2nd qtr0.91.2–1.30.3–0.6
3rd qtr0.81.1–1.10.6–0.2
4th qtr0.81.0–
20151st qtr0.70.9–1.40.5–0.2
2nd qtr0.81.1–
3rd qtr1.01.2–1.10.7–0.3
4th qtr1.21.4–
20161st qtr1.41.6–0.6–0.4–1.7
2nd qtr1.31.5–
3rd qtr1.31.5–0.60.6–0.6
4th qtr1.41.6–0.8–0.2–1.6
20171st qtr1.51.7–
2nd qtr1.51.7–0.6–0.5–2.0
3rd qtr1.51.8–0.51.3–0.2
4th qtr1.51.7–0.60.7–0.8
Persons in employment whose place of employment is in Germany, by economic sector 1
Sector of economic
activity 2
1st qtr2nd qtr3rd qtr4th qtr
1 Results of employment accounts as part of national accounts (domestic concept); annual and quarterly averages.
2 Classification of Economic Activities, 2008 edition (WZ 2008).
Persons in 1,000
Agriculture, forestry and fishing637619617583652638593
Industry, excluding construction8,0928,1088,1708,1178,1428,1998,217
Trade, transport, accommodation and food services9,8469,97610,0919,94610,08010,14510,185
Information and communication1,2181,2401,2791,2661,2771,2851,289
Financial and insurance activities1,1871,1791,1621,1681,1601,1601,163
Real estate activities467468477473475478481
Business services5,7695,9036,0575,9376,0256,1246,154
Public services, education, health10,48610,73510,95210,86810,91710,93511,087
Other services2,9402,9602,9932,9522,9883,0183,014
Change in % on the corresponding period of the previous year
Agriculture, forestry and fishing–1.8–2.8–0.3–1.4–
Industry, excluding construction0.
Trade, transport, accommodation
and food services
Information and communication–
Financial and insurance activities–0.1–0.7–1.4–1.1–1.4–1.6–1.7
Real estate activities0.
Business services2.
Public services, education, health2.
Other services0.

The current national accounts data on employment by quarters and years and the current monthly time series are available on the labour market web pages.

Detailed data and long time series on persons in employment and the number of hours worked are available in the GENESIS-Online database in the tables on national accounts of the Federation (81000-0012 and 81000-0016) and on the labour market (13321).

>> Brief methodological description employment

>> Brief methodological description hours worked

For further information:
Ulf-Karsten Keil,
tel. +49 (0) 611 / 75 26 33,
contact form

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© Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis), 2018

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