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Labour market

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In brief

Labour market

Participation in economic life plays a central part in our society, and with its functions of securing a livelihood, assigning the individual a position within the structure of the society, for economic growth and welfare it comes into the picture in many areas. There is as much diversity in official labour market statistics and their sources.

Get an overview of the German labour market by looking at the key figures.


Employment plays a central role in most people’s lives. It is a major source to secure the livelihood of individuals and families, it allows their participation in social life, and for many people it is an important precondition for satisfaction and a high quality of life.

The core of employment statistics at the Federal Statistical Office is employment accounts as part of national accounts and the microcensus with the labour force survey integrated into it. The employment statistics of the Federal Employment Agency provide data on employees subject to social insurance contributions.


The number of unemployed persons is the central supply indicator of the labour market. It shows the number of people who are willing and able to work, but currently have no job. This group of people can exactly be defined in different ways.

The most prominent figure in public awareness in Germany generally is the number of registered unemployed as published by the Federal Employment Agency. A figure suitable for examining trends and international comparisons is the number of unemployed according to the concept of the International Labour Organization (ILO). This figure does not depend on varying provisions of social law.

In FOCUS / 2017-08-21

68% of the commuter in Germany use the car to get to work

Millions of people in Germany commute from home to work every day. The car is their main means of transport: in 2016, 68% of the commuter used a passenger car to travel to work. In 2000, this proportion was only slightly less at 67%.

Approximately 14% of the people in employment regularly used public means of transport to get to work. This percentage, too, increased by one percentage point compared with 2000.

The majority of people in employment (70%) needed less than 30 minutes to travel to work every day. 22% had a commute of between 30 and 60 minutes, while 5% of the commuter needed one hour or more to get to work. Due to changing places of work, 3% of the people in employment could not give precise information on their commuting time.

Additional Information

Key figures


Piktogramm Presse

For current press releases on the theme of labour market please go to our press pages.

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