In the corona pandemic, almost half a million companies reported short-time work. The crisis is likely to have massive effects – the Federal Employment Agency expects up to 200,000 additional unemployed in April.

In view of the massive restrictions due to the corona crisis, 470,000 companies in Germany have now reported short-time work. In addition to the manufacturing industry, this also includes many companies from the hospitality and retail sectors, said Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil in Berlin. How many employees are affected in total cannot yet be reliably said. However, it can be assumed that there will be significantly more than at the peak of the economic and financial crisis in 2009. At that time, around 1.4 million people were affected.

BA: Short-time work allowance without limit

Heil emphasized that affected employees could keep their jobs with the short-time work allowance and would have the chance to get the German economy going again after the crisis. The Federal Employment Agency (BA) declared that it would finance as much short-time work as necessary to cope with the Corona crisis and to save jobs. There is no financial limit, said CEO Detlef Scheele. 100,000 short-time workers cost around 79 million euros per month with a 50 percent failure.

Overall, given the crisis, it is to be expected that unemployment in Germany will rise again for the first time in a long time. Scheele anticipates a short-term increase in the number of unemployed in April by 150,000 to 200,000. The gastronomy and tourism industries are particularly affected. Minister Heil stated that there are currently no plans to counter-finance the higher expenses with the help of an increase in unemployment insurance contributions. In the good times, the Federal Agency has operated solidly and has accumulated a reserve.

Labor market data without informative value

In the morning, the Federal Employment Agency presented its data for the current month – which, however, is not very meaningful in view of the drastic measures taken over the past three weeks. According to this, 2.335 million people nationwide were without a job in March. That was 60,000 fewer than in February, but 34,000 more than in March of the previous year. The unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage points to 5.1 percent in March. A decline in the number of unemployed is common in March, because in the external occupations, with the onset of spring recovery, employment generally rises.

The labor market data was recorded up to March 12th and thus before the extensive restrictions on public and economic life as a result of the coronavirus crisis.