The hidden reserve is being targeted in the search for skilled workers. These are people who actually want work but can’t get it for various reasons.

The hidden reserve on the German labor market has grown recently. According to the Federal Statistical Office on Thursday, May 16, around 3.2 million unemployed people in Germany wanted paid work last year.

However, citizens between the ages of 15 and 74 were not available to the labor market for various reasons.

The group made up around 17 percent of all inactive people. In the previous survey in 2022 there were around 3 million people and thus 16 percent of all inactive people. The group does not include around 1.4 million unemployed people who are available for the labor market.

With an unchanged share of almost 57 percent, women are overrepresented in the hidden reserve. In the age group between 25 and 59, almost one in three (32 percent) reported that they could not take up work because they had to look after relatives. Among men of the same age, only about one in 25 (4 percent) gave this reason. More than a third (35 percent) cited health reasons as the main reason for their inactivity.

Around 58 percent of all those affected have at least an intermediate qualification, i.e. have completed vocational training or have a university or technical college entrance qualification.

Some of the people from the hidden reserve are not available for work at short notice or are not actively looking for it because they believe they cannot find a suitable job. According to an evaluation of the 2023 microcensus, the statistics office includes a good 1.3 million people in these two groups.

There is also a third group of people who are particularly far removed from the labor market and who are neither looking for a job nor available, but who expressed a general desire to work in the microcensus survey. This concerns 1.85 million people who were not statistically counted as part of the hidden reserve in Germany until 2021.

Since the introduction of citizens’ money, there has been the assertion that social assistance is more worthwhile than working. Instead of cutting aid, a significant increase in the minimum wage would make full-time jobs more worthwhile again, at least the SPD is convinced.

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