Record number of Germans need a second job to make ends meet | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 12.08.2013
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Record number of Germans need a second job to make ends meet

The number of Germans who need a second job to make a living has soared to a new high in recent years. Official data provided by the central labor agency showed millions have pursued more than one job to make ends meet.

ARCHIV - Eine Gebäudereinigerin schiebt am 07.02.2012 einen Putzwagen durch einen Gang in der Hochschule Landshut (Niederbayern). Im Jahr 2013 stehen unter anderem für die Gebäudereiniger neue Tarifverhandlungen an. Foto: Armin Weigel/dpa (zu lhe-Korr 2013 kehren die Tarifparteien zur Normalität zurück vom 20.12.2012) +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++ pixel


Almost 2.66 million people in Germany pursued more than just one job towards the end of 2012, the Federal Labor Agency (BA) reported.

According to the Monday edition of the regional newspaper Freie Presse, the figure marked another rise by 59,000 people compared to the level reached a year earlier, meaning that 9 percent of all people in regular employment chose to top up their incomes that way.

The number of people going for a second job has risen steadily since 2003 and has more than doubled within a decade, the newspaper stated.

Room for interpretation

The data had been asked for by a federal lawmaker from Germany's Left Party, Sabine Zimmermann, who had long been alarmed about the trend on the national labor market.

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"I take the figures as evidence that more and more regularly employed people can no longer live off just one job," she said in a statement. "The overwhelming majority of those with a second job wouldn't otherwise be able to make ends meet, they don't do it voluntarily."

But the Labor Ministry said through a spokesperson there was no evidence to prove that assertion. While admitting that some might pursue a second job to ease their financial hardships, it said there might be other reasons behind it as well, for instance "a greater urge to consume."

One way or another, most of those affected have found extra jobs in the retail and catering sectors. In line with an amendment to older legislation that went into force in January this year, Germans can earn up to 450 euros ($600) per month without taxes being levied on their incomes.

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