The number of people in employment continued to grow in the fourth quarter of 2021. According to the Federal Statistical Office, 45.4 million people had their place of work in Germany. That was a seasonally adjusted 157,000 more than in the previous quarter – but also 0.4 percent less than at the end of 2019, the last quarter before the restrictions caused by the corona pandemic began in Germany.
This means that the number of people in work has almost reached its pre-crisis level again. The German economy collapsed by 4.6 percent in 2020 due to pandemic-related restrictions. The economy recovered last year and grew again by 2.8 percent.
The positive development of employees subject to social security contributions made a significant contribution to the increase in employment. Overall, the number of employees in the fourth quarter rose by 1.2 percent compared to the same period last year to 41.5 million people. The number of self-employed developed negatively: In the fourth quarter of 2021, 3.9 million people were still self-employed, a drop of 1.7 percent.
Declining figures in the manufacturing industry
The service sectors in particular contributed to catching up on the negative job consequences of the crisis. Since the final quarter of 2020, the number of employees and self-employed has increased by 434,000. However, the pre-crisis level has not yet been reached there either. Public service providers in the fields of education and health recorded the largest employment gains, followed by business service providers. This also includes the placement and leasing of workers. There was also growth in the construction industry.
In the manufacturing industry, which is plagued by material shortages, the number of people employed has fallen by 17,000 or 0.2 percent. Because despite bulging order books, most companies cannot adjust their production to demand and sometimes even have to reduce it. The number of people employed also fell in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.