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Report from the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg Employment Agency: "The jobs market is anything but dead”

Report from the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg Employment Agency : "The jobs market is anything but dead”

The jobs market in 2020 has not suffered as much of a slump as experts had expected. But the employment situation in the Rhein-Sieg district is more stable than in Bonn.

In 2020, the labor market did not collapse to the extent that experts had expected at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. "This is thanks in particular to the implementation of short-time work (Kurzarbeit),” said Stefan Krause, head of the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg Employment Agency (Arbeitsagentur). Short-time work doesn't mask unemployment, as is sometimes said, but rather helps workers to avoid unemployment. On Thursday, Krause joined with the Bonn and Rhein-Sieg Job Centers to review the 2020 job market report.

In Bonn and Rhein-Sieg combined, the average unemployment rate for 2020 was 6.3 percent. On average for the year, 31,511 people were unemployed, which was 18.8 percent more than in the previous year.

Average for 2020 was 13,092 unemployed in Bonn

In Bonn, labor market statistics registered an annual average of 13,092 unemployed. This was 20.7 percent more than in the previous year. Accordingly, the annual average unemployment rate rose from 6.3 percent in 2019 to 7.5 percent last year.

In the Rhein-Sieg district, the situation remained more stable despite the coronavirus pandemic. Here, there were 18,420 unemployed on average for the year. That was 17.6 percent more than in 2019, but the average unemployment rate for the year rose by only 0.8 percentage points to 5.6 percent.

Krause attributes the difference to the fact that Bonn's labor market is more dominated by service jobs than in the Rhein-Sieg district. And in service industries such as gastronomy and hotels, a large number of jobs were cut last year.

The number of available jobs reported to the employment agency decreased by 35.5 percent, Krause said. But at the same time, it had been quite successful in placing people in jobs. In the second half of the year, placement figures rose significantly, he said. "The labor market is anything but dead," Krause said.

Coronavirus pandemic speeds up digitization

The situation in Rhein-Sieg is also better than in Bonn when it comes to basic security benefits for job seekers: "One would think that the number of people who have to apply for basic security benefits would have continued to grow since the start of the pandemic. Contrary to expectations, this is not the case in the Rhein-Sieg district," said Ralf Holtkötter, Managing Director of the Rhein-Sieg job center. At the Rhein-Sieg job center, the number of those in need of basic security benefits remained at the previous year's low level of 17,200, while in Bonn, this number increased by three percent within a year to more than 14,300 in December 2020, said Robert Zirbes, deputy managing director of the Bonn job center.

The number of those receiving the "Hartz IV” unemployment and welfare package increased in Bonn by 1,061 to a total of 8,827 persons, which means an increase in the unemployment rate by 0.6 percentage points to 5.1 percent on an annual average. In the Rhein-Sieg district, it rose by 717 to 10,723 persons, which means an increase in the unemployment rate by 0.2 percentage points to 3.3 percent on an annual average.

The coronavirus pandemic accelerated digitization enormously: "The accompanying structural change is currently being overshadowed by the pandemic, but must not be forgotten," said Krause. There are also challenges posed by demographic and ecological change and the shortage of skilled workers, he added. The employment agency must absorb this by promoting further training, he said.

English language link for the Bundesagentur für Arbeit: For people coming from other countries Bundesagentur für Arbeit

Orig. text: Claudia Mahnke

Translation: ck