Employment-to-population ratio, 55–64 year olds
Reforms to the labor market and pension system made it increasingly easy for older individuals to find work. The employment-to-population ratio among 55–64 year olds rose continuously in the years following Schröder’s reforms.

A series of gradual reforms to the pension and health insurance systems were designed to safeguard social programs for the future and keep them affordable in the face of demographic aging of the population. The federal government also introduced state-subsidized private pension plan (known as the Riester pension and as the Rürup pension) to supplement existing state and company schemes. The benefit level was readjusted in 2004 using a sustainability factor that based state pension levels on the ratio of workers to retirees. The reforms expanded the system of company pension plans and began the process of raising the minimum retirement age to 67. (The new retirement age became law in 2008.) The legislation stabilized the costs of state pension benefits despite an aging society, ensuring that they would remain affordable for the foreseeable future. Two health-care reforms – one in 2000 and 2004 – slowed cost increases by introducing higher premiums and cutting selected services. The reforms to the social insurance system lowered contributions for employers and employees, which improved competitiveness and fueled job creation.