Number of jobless people in Germany edges up in December
"The number of unemployed people rose in December, but not as much as usually seen in this month," said Detlef Scheele, head of the BA, at a press conference.
The unemployment rate in the country remained unchanged at 5.9 percent in December, according to the BA. The number of unemployed people increased by 480,000 compared to December 2019.
In 2020, the average number of unemployed people in Germany increased by 429,000 year-on-year to almost 2.7 million, the BA said.
Unemployment increased from March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying restrictions. Following the easing of these measures, the labor market has gradually recovered.
"The slump in the labor market in the spring is still having an impact," said Scheele. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to contain the spread were still "very clearly visible."
Scheele added short-time work and the government's compensation program to avoid layoffs have had a "stabilizing effect" on the labor market in Germany and prevented higher jobless figures.
The German government introduced short-time work schemes in March 2020, and by April just under six million people had already been receiving short-time work compensation, according to the BA.
In December, around 666,000 employees were registered for short-time work in Germany, slightly more than in November, the BA said. Due to the high COVID-19 infection and death rates, Germany has declared a hard lockdown that is set to expire on Jan. 10.
On Tuesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the minister-presidents of Germany's federal states are scheduled to meet to agree on further steps to contain the spread of COVID-19. An extension of the lockdown is seen increasingly likely.