Germany records highest employment figures since reunification

Germany records highest employment figures since reunification

During the third quarter of 2023, more people were employed in Germany than ever before in the history of the federal republic, figures from the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) have revealed. Of the different sectors, public services took on the largest share of new workers over the summer months.

New record: 46 million people employed in Germany

Never before have there been so many people employed in Germany as there were in the summer of 2023, Destatis has found.

From July to September, there were 46,04 million people working full or part-time in the federal republic, the largest figure since reunification in 1991. The previous employment rate record was reached at the end of 2022, when 45,96 million people were in work. For context, Germany's current population sits at 84,5 million, around 1.1 million of those people are over the retirement age and 786.000 are children below the age of 15 in 2023, according to Destatis.

Destatis uses the UN International Labour Organisation definition to decide who counts as employed. This definition includes anyone who is over the age of 15 and conducts at least one hour of paid work per week, or a person who is absent from work due to sickness, holiday or maternity leave, meaning those carrying out unpaid domestic work or care for children or other dependents are not included.

While the 46,04-million-employed record was broken, the increase in employment rate which was seen in Germany during 2022 has slowed throughout 2023. The first and second quarters of 2023 saw year-on-year increases of + 444.000 and +396.000 more people working respectively, but the third quarter saw just 337.000 more people in work compared to the same period in 2022.

Which sectors in Germany hired the most new employees?

Destatis also revealed which positions were being filled during the summer. This was overwhelmingly dominated by the 124.000 people newly hired to work in public services such as education or healthcare, which bodes well for Germany’s record-high worker shortage, which is particularly desperate in the public sector.

The second best-represented occupation was retail, traffic and hospitality, where 75.000 more people were hired throughout the summer months. Finally, the number of people working in communications and information services grew by 35.000.

While these fields made the most hires, it is still the case that almost all areas of work are currently understaffed. Thanks to Germany's changing age demographics and a new wave of skilled workers yet to arrive following new immigration policies which hope to convince people to move to the federal republic for work, 90 percent of companies in the country have said that they are struggling to find qualified candidates to fill vacant positions.

Thumb image credit: Altrendo Images /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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