The longer you stay out of a job, the harder it is to get back into the labour market

Berlin takes aggressive steps to tackle long-term unemployment

Berlin takes aggressive steps to tackle long-term unemployment

Senator Elke Breitbach announced the city’s new programme, offering 1,000 jobs to workers who were the hardest hit during the pandemic

On 29 July, Berlin Senator for Integration, Labour and Social Affairs, Elke Breitenbach announced that there are still deep traces left by the pandemic on Berlin's labour market. She explained that the long-term unemployment rate has risen by 111% since March 2020 and there is a lot to be done.

She also unveiled the city’s plan to reverse the trend with the Solidarisches Grundeinkommen (SGE) programme – an employment programme capable of providing 1,000 jobs to the hardest hit Berliners.

The longer you stay unemployed – the harder it is to get a job

Berlin is Germany’s hardest-hit state from the effects of pandemic unemployment, particularly long-term unemployment. The term refers to everyone who has been registered as out of work for at least one year.

Senator Breitenbach explained that this development is particularly worrying because the longer unemployment lasts, the harder it is to get a job. Furthermore, she said that if workers can break the streak and get a new job, the employer-employee relationships are usually short-lived and unstable.

Since March 2020, the number of long-term unemployed in Berlin has risen by 111.8%, while over 200,000 people have registered as being out of work, in July alone. This puts Berlin’s unemployment rate at 9.9%, which is an improvement compared to last year.

New hope for Berlin’s unemployed

The reason why people are suddenly losing their jobs is likely twofold: on the one hand, the pandemic shrank the economy, and it still does to a large extent, and on the other, the city could offer fewer support measures.

This is why Berlin’s Senate has reinvigorated its efforts to stop and reduce the risk of long-term unemployment. The pilot project Solidarisches Grundeinkommen (SGE) has created 1,000 jobs for those who were hit the hardest. The jobs will come with social benefits, safe and fairly paid work and personal development via coaching for new skills. 

Additionally, the state will increase the budget for the Participation Opportunities Act for employers who are oriented towards the common good. This will be coupled with a more comprehensive coaching programme targeting the long-term unemployed for their development of digital skills.

It is worth noting that the federal government has refused to participate in this programme and the city is going it alone.  

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