25 Years IWH

Population and labour market

Inhabitants are all people (Germans and foreigners) with permanent residence in federal territory (or in a Land). That does not include members of foreign missions and armed forces. The number of inhabitants stated in the national accounts is the yearly average. However, the reference date for the latest numbers for the Länder is June 30.

The labour force consists of all persons aged 15 to 64.

Total employment counts all persons at the age of 15 or older, who, during the reporting period, have worked at least one hour for consideration (wage, salary), as self-employed person or as assisting family member, or who have an apprenticeship. It does not matter whether the activity is performed regularly or occasionally. Furthermore, people who were in a direct relationship with an employer but did not work in the reporting period (for example due to vacation or parental leave) are seen as employed. The same goes for persons in marginal employment (as according to social security regulations), soldiers, conscripts and persons doing civilian service.

Occupational status distinguishes between self-employed persons, assisting family members and employees (blue-collar and white-collar workers, persons in marginal employment and officials). Total employment according to the national treatment principle determines employment according to the place of residence, as opposed to the domestic concept, which considers the place of work.

An employee (domestic concept) is someone who is in an employment relationship as a blue-collar or white-collar worker, official, judge, professional soldier, soldier for a fixed time, person doing military or civilian service, apprentice, intern or volunteer, and who is primarily exercising this activity. The amount of the actual hours worked or the contractually agreed upon working hours are irrelevant, meaning that, among others, persons in marginal employment or home workers are counted as employees.

Self-employed persons and assisting family members: A self-employed person is someone who runs a business or a commercial or agricultural workplace as owner or tenant (including self-employed craftsmen), as well as all other freelance professionals, traders and certain subcontractors (‘Zwischenmeister’). This also includes self-employed persons, who are supported by the employment agencies, e.g. recipients of employment entry benefits and start-up grants.

The self-employment rate is the percentage share of self-employed persons and assisting family members in total employment.

The volume of work includes hours actually worked by all persons who performed an activity aimed at economic gains, either as employee (blue-collar or white-collar worker, official, judge, marginally employed person, soldier), self-employed person or assisting family member. This also includes hours worked by persons in more than one employment relationship at a time. However, hours for which a person got paid without actually working (i.e. vacation, parental leave, public holidays, short-time work or absence due to illness) are not considered. Also excluded are unpaid breaks (e.g. lunch breaks) and the time spent commuting to and from work. Consequently, the volume of work includes the total number of hours actually worked by employees and self-employed persons at their respective workplace during the reporting period within a specific region. It does not consider the intensity or quality of the performed activities. The volume of work is equal to the product of the number of employed persons and the hours worked per worker.

The annual working time per worker is the number of hours worked by one employed person in one year.

Unemployed persons are people who

  • are temporarily not in an employment relationship or who are employed but work less than 15 hours per week,
  • are looking for an employment which is subject to compulsory insurance and requires at least 15 hours of work per week, meaning they are fit and ready for work,
  • reside in the Federal Republic of Germany,
  • are not younger than 15 years and who have not yet reached retirement age and
  • who have registered as being unemployed at an employment agency or jobcentre.

In conformity with § 53 a (1) of Book II of the Social Code (SGB II), the definition of unemployment as stated in § 16 SGB III applies mutatis mutandis for persons in need according to SGBII.

Unemployment rates show the relative under-utilisation of the labour supply by calculating the share of registered unemployed persons in the labour force (employed + unemployed persons).

The term labour force or employed persons can be interpreted in different ways. The definition of the unemployment rate used here refers to the civilian working population. The term civilian employed persons includes dependent civilian employed persons as well as self-employed persons and assisting family members.

Sources: Federal Statistical Office; working group ‚Erwerbstätigenrechnung des Bundes und der Länder‘; Federal Employment Agency.

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