MUNSTERLAND. The five municipal job centres in Münsterland can report a historic low in unemployment in the area of basic benefits for jobseekers for 2018. On average, around 23,800 people were registered as unemployed in the region in the legal area of SGB II, almost 2,000 fewer than a year earlier. "This is the lowest figure since the introduction of SGB II in 2005," emphasises Thomas Ostholthoff, head of the Steinfurt District Job Centre. At that time, the figure was over 30,000.
The positive development is also reflected in the unemployment rate for the SGB II sector. Compared to the previous year, it fell by another 0.3 percentage points to 2.6 per cent. The unemployment rate reflects the good labour market situation in the region: the comparative value in NRW is 4.8 percent. "We benefit from the broadly diversified industry structure of the local companies, the many different pillars give the Münsterland economic stability," says Karin Ostendorff, head of the Borken District Job Centre, aware of the region's advantages.
Basically, all groups of people were able to benefit from the decline in unemployment in Münsterland. However, it is particularly pleasing that the number of young unemployed people under 25 has been reduced to an above-average extent. It fell by 12.0 per cent to just under 2,400 within a year. The specific unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 2.1 per cent.
Ralf Bierstedt, head of the Münster Job Centre, sees this development as a confirmation of the work of the job centres: "The municipal job centres in Münsterland have a wide range of instruments at their disposal to increase the training and employment situation of young people in the region. It is important to develop strategies and offers for each individual according to their individual support needs in order to pave the way into the world of work in a sustainable way." Often it is many small steps that bring long-term and sustainable success.
The ongoing good economic development continued to lead to a strong demand for labour in 2018, from which the Münsterland Job Centre also benefited. "Last year, we paved the way for almost 15,000 people out of SGB II benefit receipt back into working life, more than 2,800 of whom were people in the context of refugee migration. In these cases, integration was mostly preceded by language acquisition and then qualification or further training. Overall, we were able to increase our integration rate again compared to the already very good figure of the previous year and, at over 25 per cent, we are at the top of the regions in NRW," says Thomas Bleiker, head of the Coesfeld District Job Centre. The main reasons for this result, he says, are the high dynamism of the largely medium-sized businesses and the close cooperation between the Münsterland job centres and the companies.
Last year, the five job centres in the Münsterland region assisted an average of about 85,000 people per month, 4.5 percent fewer than a year earlier. "These people were distributed among a total of 43,000 households, which we provided financial security for by covering the costs of rent, food, clothing, water, electricity and heating, but also with regard to health and long-term care insurance," explains the head of the Warendorf job centre, Dr. Ansgar Seidel. For this purpose, the job centres paid out a total of more than 400 million euros in 2018.
Even though the economy has started 2019 with less thrust and the economic momentum is slowing down, the conditions for solid growth remain good. The willingness of businesses to hire remains high, especially in the SME sector, with 30 per cent of companies in the Münsterland region planning to expand their workforce in 2019, according to a survey by the North Westphalia Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Almost all of the companies surveyed describe their current business situation as good or satisfactory.
"Under these general conditions, we would like to focus more on people who have been dependent on SGB II benefits for a very long time. For them, there will be new perspectives on the labour market in 2019, not least due to new funding opportunities under the Participation Opportunities Act," said the joint outlook of the job centre managers.