Home > Uncategorized > Unemployed foreigners, Germany (Ausländerarbeitslosenquote)

Unemployed foreigners, Germany (Ausländerarbeitslosenquote)

from: Merijn Knibbe

The graph shows the  ‘Ausländerarbeitslosenquote’ (unemployed foreigners ratio) which is calculated by the ‘Bundesagentur fur Arbeit’ (a kind of German ‘Bureau of Labor Statistics’). Unemployment of Germans in East Germany is, after about a quarter of a century, finally below 10% (but still high). But unemployment among ‘foreigners’ is way higher (foreigners are not necessarily immigrants: refugees and people from the Not Very United Kingdom count but so does the large share of the sizeable second or third generation Turkish minority which does not have German nationality). Fun fact: unemployment of foreigners in Bayern is lower than unemployment of German nationals in Berlin Brandenburg (September 2016).

but it is still way above the German level. Which indicates that dual employment policies are needed: macro and micro (but micro policies are really hard). Political incorrectness of the day: Erdogan calls upon German Turks to do better, economically. As German Turks do relatively bad, even for ‘Ausländer’, this is not just understandable but even positive.

What I didn’t know: according to Wikipedia a considerable number of the about four million Turks in Germany descend from the post 1918 Turkish diaspora in countries like Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus and Lebanon. Also: the unemployment metric used here is slightly less restrictive than the U-3 metric used by Eurostat (see Edward Fullbrook for a critical look at this metric, look here for my view, both published in the Real World Economics Review), the site of the Bundesagentur has by the way ample data on ‘broad unemployment’. The point: the unemployment data serve to show regional and social differences but should not be understood as the absolute level of either labor slack/lack of opportunities.

  1. Christoph
    April 1, 2017 at 9:23 am

    nice article, but it is called ‘Bundesagentur für Arbeit’ (the ‘ü’ is in ‘für’).
    I am by far no expert for the ‘Bureau of Labor Statistics’, but it seems like they mostly care for numbers, whereas in Germany the statistic is only a very small part of the ‘Bundesagentur für Arbeit’.
    They try to get people back to work, they offer (or pay for) education/trainings in one’s profession or more general thing (like in how to apply successfully).
    Furthermore (it is not always the case) they calculate the correct amount of unemployment benefits (‘Arbeitslosengeld I’ and partly ‘Arbeitslosengeld II’). And probably a few other things I am not aware of.

    • merijntknibbe
      April 1, 2017 at 10:40 am

      Dear Christoph,

      thanks. “u” corrected. Notice the ‘kind of’ I wrote in the text, for reasons of brevity I did not want to expand too much on the Bundesagentur but they indeed do much more than only assembling statistics.

  2. April 1, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    A question here. For Germany, are unemployment statistics closely correlated (or used as proxies for) labor market participation? You see a great deal of argumentation here about low participation as some sort of “clue” that official unemployment statistics are somehow inaccurate or (for some people, not me) actually intentionally fraudulent.

    • merijntknibbe
      April 1, 2017 at 6:51 pm

      Good question. The German participation rate has increased quite a bit which means that unemployment data underestimated labor slack. But at this moment, rates are unlike in the USA historically relatively high.

    • April 1, 2017 at 10:20 pm

      “as some sort of “clue” that official unemployment statistics are somehow inaccurate”

      Participation rate has its own problems. I think most would agree that the drop in participation rate since the recent peak was a bad thing, but the big increase in participation rate between 1960 and 1990 was also a bad thing, and there was a big outcry against “latchkey children”.

  3. April 1, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    ” the sizeable second or third generation Turkish minority which does not have German nationality”

    What does this mean. Does Germany not have “birthright” citizenship based on location during birth separate from parental status?

    • visitor
      April 5, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      Germany fundamentally relies on the “jus sanguinis” and not the “jus soli”. Besides, at least till recently, it did not recognize dual citizenship — and neither did some other countries of origin of those foreigners living in Germany.

      Those two conditions sometimes led to complicated situations. I had (many years ago) a Serbian colleague who had basically lived his entire life in Germany, and could have easily acquired the German citizenship. However, relinquishing his Serbian citizenship meant that he would have been legally barred, according to the Serbian law then in force, from inheriting any real estate in Serbia from his parents or relatives. He was in a bind.

  4. merijntknibbe
    April 2, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    I’m not an expert. But for a long time Germany seems to have had a kind of ‘blood’ based right to citizenship: you had to have German ancestors. A bit like Israel. For foreigners it was difficult to obtain German citizenship. These rules have been relaxed a little. However, Turkish (and Moroccan) people of the second or third generation automatically acquire Turkish or Moroccan citizenship, regardless if they also have German or another citizenship.As far as I know, German forces Turkish youngsters with German as well as Turkish citizenship to choose when they are 23. Long story short: it seems that a lot of Turkish people in Germany, even of the second and third generation, do not have German but Turkish citizenship. Which, to me, makes the remarks of Erdogan more understandable. Imagine, however, the situation in which Erdogan goes to all out war with Syria while millions of people without German but with Turkish citizenship are living in Germany.But: I’m not an expert and may be wrong.

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