COVID-19 impact on labour and income

By how much has the number of social assistance benefits increased?

At the end of February 2020, there were 432 thousand people in the Netherlands up to the pension entitlement age with a general social assistance benefit. This is around 17 thousand more than one year previously. Compared to twelve months previously, the number of income support recipients among young people under the age of 27 was 14 percent higher. This is equivalent to 5 thousand young people. The fact that more young people in particular ended up on social assistance benefits is related to a decline in labour participation in this age group.

How many people were unemployed?

In March, there were 326 thousand unemployed. This is equivalent to 3.5 percent of the labour force. From January through March, unemployment declined by an average of 14 thousand per month. Between March and August, the number of unemployed rose by more than 150 thousand. Since then, unemployment has been falling again on a monthly basis. The unemployment figure includes all 15 to 74-year-olds who do not have paid work but who have been looking for paid work recently and who are immediately available. Read more

How is the labour participation rate developing?

The share of people aged 15 to 74 years with paid work stood at 68.6 percent in March. In May 2020, labour participation declined to 67.7 percent. It was still peaking in January and February 2020 at 69.3 percent. Read more

How much did labour participation decline per age group?

In March, 3.8 million (48 thousand more than in March 2020) 25 to 44-year-olds and 4 million (4 thousand more than in March 2020) 45 to 74-year-olds were in paid employment. Between February and April 2020, the total number of people in paid work fell by 177 thousand. The decline was particularly severe among the younger labour force (aged 15 to 24): from 1.4 million in February to less than 1.3 million in April. In March 2021, the number of young people in work was 1.5 million, down by 36 thousand relative to the same month last year. Read more

How many job losses were recorded?

In March, 326 thousand people were unemployed. This number stood at 368 thousand three months previously, in December. This means that unemployment declined by 42 thousand over this period (14 thousand per month on average). On the one hand, this was because there were more unemployed who found work (from unemployed to employed) than employed who lost their job and became unemployed (from employed to unemployed). On balance, this resulted in unemployment declining by 28 thousand over the past three months. On the other hand, unemployment also declined because there were fewer people who started looking with no direct result (from inactive labour force to unemployed) than people who stopped looking and/or were not available (from unemployed to inactive labour force). On balance, this resulted in 14 thousand fewer unemployed. Read more

How is the number of unemployment (WW) benefits developing?

At the end of March 2021, UWV provided 282 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits. The number of current benefits fell by 3.9 thousand (-1.4 percent) relative to February. Most sectors recorded fewer current WW benefits in March relative to February. The decrease was largest in agriculture (-6.3 percent). In the spring, employment rises in this seasonally sensitive sector. The number of WW benefits in accommodation, food and catering services also decreased above average (-4.6 percent), but was still nearly twice as high as one year previously. An increase in the number of benefits was recorded in the cleaning sector (+3.5 percent), in retail trade (+2.4 percent) and in the food, beverages and tobacco industry (+1.6 percent). Read more

How many people have to draw on their savings?

In April 2021, 7 out of every 100 people reported that their household had to draw on savings. This is less than one year previously, when 9 out of 100 said they had to draw on savings. In April 2021, 3 out of 100 said their household had to take on debt. This is similar to the same month last year.

How is the number of jobs developing?

The total number of jobs, of both employees and self-employed, stood at 10,739 thousand in Q4 2020. Relative to Q3, this represents an increase of 0.05 percent (5 thousand jobs). In Q2, there was still a record drop in the number of jobs of 296 thousand, followed by a partial recovery in Q3 (169 thousand). The number of jobs is now slightly above the level of Q1 2019.

How is the number of hours worked developing?

Adjusted for seasonal effects, the number of hours worked was 1.2 percent lower in Q4 than in Q3 2020. In Q3, the number of hours worked had increased by 4.9 percent. Due to government support measures, job losses have remained relatively limited. In Q4, employees and self-employed worked a total of more than 3.3 billion hours.

How is the real disposable income of households developing?

In 2020, total real disposable household income was 2.4 percent up on the previous year. Income rose faster than in 2019 despite the coronavirus crisis. Due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 measures, there was considerably less consumption in 2020. Household consumption was 18.2 billion euros lower than in 2019. In 2020, households saved substantially more than in the previous year, i.e. 33.8 billion euros more.

How is the number of vacancies developing?

At the end of December, the number of unfilled vacancies had dropped to 210 thousand. This is 6 thousand fewer than at the end of September, when the number of vacancies had increased by 16 thousand, after two quarters of decline. At the end of 2019, there was still a record number of 286 thousand unfilled vacancies. As a result of the coronavirus crisis, the number of vacancies fell by 76 thousand in the four quarters of 2020. Read more

How is the number of flex workers developing?

The number of employees with a flexible employment relationship grew almost continuously until 2019, but started to decline in the course of last year. In Q4 2020, there were 1.7 million flex workers. This is 177 thousand fewer than in Q4 2019.

How many residents of Belgium or Germany work in the Netherlands?

In 2018, more than 80 thousand people were employed in the Netherlands while living in Belgium or Germany. There were nearly 43 thousand employees who travelled to work across the border from Germany to the Netherlands on a daily basis; from Belgium, there were almost 41 thousand. These cross-border commuters mainly live in relatively small rural municipalities just across the border. Their share in these municipalities is therefore considerable. With 22 percent of cross-border commuters, the Flemish municipality of Baarle-Hertog takes the lead. Of the German municipalities, Laar is particularly striking. Read more

In which occupational group was telecommuting most prevalent in Q2 2020?

In Q2 2020, (partial) telecommuting was most prevalent among employees with ICT occupations. Relative to Q1, the share of ICT professionals working from home doubled, exceeding 40 percent; this was the largest increase among all occupational groups. At the highest skill level in particular, all or part of the job activity was performed remotely.

What is the effect of the loss of self-employed income?

For 19 percent of the self-employed, the household's remaining financial resources fall below the minimum wage threshold if the self-employed income is lost for three months. As soon as the income of the self-employed is lost for one year, this share rises to 35 percent. This is shown by a model-based calculation of the loss of income of the self-employed based on data from the Integral Income and Wealth System (IIVS) 2018. This calculation was made in response to the coronavirus crisis.

What is the size of the financial buffer for most self-employed entrepreneurs?

In 2019, 20 percent of Dutch self-employed entrepreneurs said they would be able to make ends meet for an estimated three months in the absence of revenues from their own company. Nearly 40 percent said they could probably survive for 12 months or more. Self-employed active in transportation and logistics were most likely to indicate a maximum length of time of 3 months without company revenue (30 percent).

How many precarious workers are there in the Netherlands?

In 2019, 72.3 percent of all flex workers had less secure employment, equivalent to 1,391 thousand flex workers. These are employees with short-term temporary contracts, temporary agency contracts, on-call contracts or variable hours, who are at greater risk of losing their jobs and income when the business where they work is in worse shape than other temporary workers.

How many key workers are there in the Netherlands?

In Q4 2019, an estimated 3.1 million people in the employed labour force of 9.0 million were working in vital occupations. The majority of key workers are found in the care and welfare sector (1.3 million). Another 460 thousand worked in education or childcare. Read more

How many people worked from home in 2019?

In 2019, there were 3.5 million people in paid employment who (usually or incidentally) worked from home. They represent 39 percent of the active labour force. Of these (incidental) home-based workers, approximately 1.3 million usually worked from home, while 2.4 million did so incidentally.

Which business sectors tend to have many home-based workers?

There are five sectors with a share of (incidental) home-based workers that exceeds 60 percent: information and communication, education, financial services, specialised business services, and energy.

Which occupations had the highest number of home-based workers in 2019?

In 2019, the proportion of home-based workers was highest in occupations such as government official, ICT manager and policy advisor. In these professions, at least 87 percent (sometimes) worked from home. The majority of them worked from home incidentally.

How many Dutch residents work in Belgium or Germany?

In 2017, altogether over 22 thousand Dutch residents were employed in either Belgium or Germany. These include almost 13 thousand people working in Belgium and 9.5 thousand working in Germany. Read more

How many people work in culture, sports and recreation?

In 2018, 174 thousand people were working in the culture, sports and recreation sector. This is 1.9 percent of the employed persons in all economic activities.

How many men and women are working in affected sectors?

In December 2019, altogether 1.1 men as well as 1.1 million women were working in sectors which qualify for government support in accordance with the so-called TOGS measure (reimbursement for entrepreneurs in affected sectors).

How many seasonal workers are employed in the agricultural sector?

In 2019, there were nearly 30 thousand full-time jobs on the basis of fixed-term contracts for specific or occasional work. In many cases, this was seasonal work. The total volume of labour deployed in the Dutch agricultural sector was equivalent to over 156 thousand full-time jobs (FTEs). Read more

Which agricultural sector employs the highest number of seasonal workers?

The majority of the non-regular labour force - often seasonal workers - were active in horticulture. Within the horticultural sector, the seasonal workforce was largest at greenhouse vegetable farms. This workforce was larger than the number of regularly employed workers. Nearly 60 percent of the labour input consisted of seasonal workers. These include students who help pick tomatoes, cucumbers or peppers, but also temporary migrant workers. Read more