25 Years IWH

Migration Affects Labour Market in Eastern Germany

Migration increasingly affects the labour market in Eastern Germany, having effects on employment and unemployment figures as well as the number of recipients of social assistance benefits under the SGB II regulations. Particularly with countries in Middle and Eastern Europe, countries affected by the European debt and confidence crisis and with people seeking asylum, there are large increases meeting the dimensions in Western Germany. However, migrants overall still form a significantly smaller percentage of the population and other labour market parameters in Eastern Germany, since migration was a lot stronger in Western Germany during the last decades. While on the short run negative effects on unemployment have to be expected, there are also chances, in the medium- and long-term, to soften the expectable demographic problems, if integration and qualification are supported.

Authors Oliver Holtemöller

The development on the German labour market is increasingly affected by the strong migration movements. The rise in migration is mainly caused by the free movement of workers from Middle and Eastern European countries, the difficult labour market situation in the countries affected by the European debt and confidence crisis (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain) and the increased immigration of refugees. In 2015, the overall migration balance in Eastern Germany should be about 170 000 persons, 70% of which are from the main countries of origin of people seeking asylum (see figure).

Effects on the German Labour Market

Regarding the rates of change, there are almost no differences between Eastern and Western Germany. Compared to the period of the proceeding year, the number of employees, of unemployed persons and of SGB II-benefit recipients from the migration countries has increased strongly in both regions. The number of employees with 24,5% increased even more in Eastern Germany than in Western Germany (12,7%). As to the number of unemployed persons, the growth rate was also a bit higher.

However, it should be noted that in East Germany, migrants form a significantly smaller percentage of the population as well as of all employees, registered unemployment and SGB II-benefit recipients. An exception is the share of the population coming from the countries of origin of people seeking asylum. With 1,4%, it is relatively close to the Western German figure of 1,7%. This is probably due to the fact that migration has been considerably stronger during the past decades in West Germany than it has been in the eastern part of the country.

However, it should be noted that in East Germany, migrants form a significantly smaller percentage of the population as well as of all employees, registered unemployment and SGB II-benefit recipients. An exception is the share of the population coming from the countries of origin of people seeking asylum. With 1,4%, it is relatively close to the Western German figure of 1,7%. This is probably due to the fact that migration has been considerably stronger during the past decades in West Germany than it has been in the eastern part of the country.

Additional expenses needed to improve job market prospects for refugees

Job market prospects of many immigrants, especially from the countries of origin of people seeking asylum are limited, at least for the short term and if they lack language skills and the professional qualification needed. It is to be anticipated that many of those immigrants will be unemployed for the time being. Registered unemployment, having continously decreased in the past years in Eastern Germany due to the strong decline of labour force potential, will hardly decrease any further. At the same time, there are chances to soften the expectable demographic problems in Eastern Germany, if integration of migrants in the labour market is successful. For that purpose additional expenses for integration and qualification are necessary.

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Verknüpfte Publikationen

Zu den Auswirkungen der Migration auf den ostdeutschen Arbeitsmarkt

Hans-Ulrich Brautzsch

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel , 6, 2015

Abstract

Die starken Migrationsprozesse beeinflussen zunehmend auch den ostdeutschen Arbeitsmarkt. Die Zuwachsraten bei der Zahl der Beschäftigten, den Arbeitslosen sowie den Leistungsbeziehern nach SGB II vor allem aus den mittel- und osteuropäischen Staaten mit Arbeitnehmerfreizügigkeit, den von der europäischen Schulden- und Vertrauenskrise besonders schwer betroffenen Ländern Griechenland, Italien, Portugal und Spanien sowie den Asylherkunftsländern sind gegenwärtig sehr hoch und liegen in der gleichen Größenordnung wie in Westdeutschland. Die Anteile von Migranten an der Bevölkerung und an relevanten Arbeitsmarktgrößen sind allerdings in Ostdeutschland erheblich niedriger als in Westdeutschland.

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