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More Germans can't make ends meet on one job alone

The German Federal Employment Agency reported that the number of German employees with a second job have doubled since 2003. Statistics suggest the income from a single job is inadequate for people to live off.

Germany's Federal Employment Agency reports an increase in the number of Germans currently hold or are seeking a second job, also referred to as a 'mini-job'. This is a new trend.

According to the agency's 2010 report, 2.6 million workers or one in every 11 employees had a second job. This is a 135,000 increase from the previous year.

"The fact that more and more employees have a second job in addition to their main job is a clear indication one job is no longer a secure source of income and a single job is no longer sufficient," said the spokeswoman for the Left Party, Sabine Zimmerman, who warns of a worrying trend.

Previous statistics from the Federal Employment Agency showed in 2003 only 1.2 million employees had a second job.

Most of the second jobs are so-called mini-jobs, which are exactly that: jobs that are not full-time and earn a wage of up to 400 euros ($308). This may be a primary or additional means of income.

Those who have a 'mini-job' are exempted from tax and social insurance payments and employer' social insurance contributions are considerably lower than those for equivalent regular jobs.

The German 'mini-job' initiative began in 2003 under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder as a method to encourage labor market reform.

Left-leaning analysts are critical of the scheme and see it as leading to a reduction in regular full-time employment.

The labor market expert for the Greens, Brigitte Pothmer, stressed that there was nothing positive in this labor market trend, rather she views this type of work as "extremely unfair to the insurance community."

cg/rg (Reuters, epd, AFP)