Germany’s low unemployment rate is the envy of much of Europe. Yet it masks the difficulties many working Germans have in making ends meet and their reliance on welfare benefits. The issue could become important as the election campaign heats up.
Despite Germany’s low unemployment rate, a growing number of the working poor in the country are not earning a living wage and are therefore in need of supplemental welfare payments, according to a newspaper report on Wednesday.
Citing data from the Federal Employment Agency, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that the past four years have seen a steady increase in the number of individuals who require state money to get by despite working full- or part-time jobs.
The agency registered a 2012 average of 323,000 households in such situations — 20,000 more than in 2009. The figures were more striking for singles, showing a 38 percent increase over the same time period to 75,600.
The total number of employed recipients of welfare, which underwent a massive reform in Germany 10 years ago, has stayed about the same over the past four years at 1.3 million. Roughly half of those people had a so-called “mini-job” — one that pays so little it is exempt from social insurance contributions.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor