Where is the labor market in Germany headed? The long-awaited spring upswing was only modest in March. “The direction hasn’t been right for a while,” said the head of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), Andrea Nahles, on Thursday. This is a gradual movement that must stop soon. At the same time, she emphasized that it was not time to sound catastrophic.

It is a balancing act that the former labor minister is attempting. Don’t encourage panic, but point out risks and problems. It is currently more difficult than ever for the unemployed to find a new job. The risk of losing your job increases. The number of vacancies at the BA is in a downward trend.

“Economic downturn”

The number of unemployed fell in March compared to the previous month – by 45,000 to 2.769 million. However, compared to the same month last year, there were 176,000 more. The rate was 6 percent – after 6.1 percent in February. “Unemployment and underemployment did decrease in March, but less so than usual this month. The economic downturn is still making itself felt on the labor market. Overall, however, it is still holding up relatively well,” said Nahles, commenting on the figures as of December 13th March were raised.

It also became clear that the job market does not offer a uniform picture: there are companies that are cutting jobs – and some that are desperately looking for employees. Nahles referred to so-called regional labor market hubs in order to bring companies together and to help employees quickly.

At the same time, she promoted vocational training. The legal regulation on qualification allowance comes into force on April 1st, which is aimed primarily at companies undergoing structural change. The aim is to qualify employees and secure skilled workers.

Fewer vacancies

707,000 job vacancies were registered with the BA in March. That was 70,000 fewer than a year ago. When it comes to short-time work, companies reported short-time work for 48,000 people for the period from March 1st to 24th – 10,000 fewer than in the same period of the previous month.

Almost 60 percent of the unemployed have not completed vocational training – in terms of basic security for job seekers the figure is two thirds. “The rapid technical and social developments also require constant further learning. Therefore, professional qualification through the acquisition of partial qualifications or professional qualifications is an integral part of the instruments of active labor market policy,” stated the authority.

281,000 training positions unfilled

Regarding the situation on the training market, the BA announced that 317,000 applicants applied for training positions from October to March. In March, 190,000 of them had not yet found a training position or an alternative. In contrast, there are 281,000 unfilled training positions. It was said that the training market is still very much in flux.