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Economy in Brief

  Unemployment Rate in Germany Hits 10.7%, the Highest Level Since February 1999
by Louise Curley October 5, 2004

Unemployment in Germany continues to rise. According to the national definition, the unemployment rate rose to 10.7% in September, up 0.1 percentage point from August and 0.2 percentage points from September, 2003. The rate, which has been rising since mid 2001 is now at the highest since February 1999. The actual number of unemployed persons rose 27,000 to 4,445,000 in September from 4,418,000 in August and 58,000 from September, 2003.

In addition to the national definition of unemployment, there is the harmonized rate of unemployment that Eurostat compiles for many European countries and Japan, thus enabling comparisons among countries. Although this measure for Germany is somewhat lower than the national definition, it shows the same general trend as the national definition, as can be seen in the attached chart. Part of the difference in the two rates is the inclusion in the national definition of unemployed, but not in the harmonized Eurostat definition, of those working 15 hours or less and those who have found a job, but have not yet started working.

The harmonized rate for Germany was 9.9% in September, unchanged from August and 0.2 percentage points above September, 2003. Germany's harmonized rate of unemployment is the second highest in the Euro zone, after Spain. Most of the harmonized rates are not yet available for September, but in August, the rate for Spain was 11.0%; for France, 9.6%; for the Netherlands, 4.8%; and for Ireland, 4.4%.

  Sep  04 Aug  04 Sep  03 M-M Y-Y 2003    2002     2001  
German Unemployment Rate Nat'l Definition (%) 10.7 10.6 10.5 0.1 0.2 10.5 9.8 9.4
Unemployed Persons (000) 4,445 4,418 4,387 27 58 4,382 4,075 3,861
Unemployment Rate EU Definition (%)              
  Germany 9.9 9.9 9.7 0.0 0.2 9.6 9.7 7.8
  France    9.6          
  Spain   11.0          
  Netherlands     4.8          
  Ireland   4.4          
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