By the end of August 2008, the comparatively highest number of unemployment benefits ((16 thousand in total) were paid out in the province of Limburg. Limburg was immediately followed by the three northernmost Dutch provinces. The province of Utrecht has the lowest number of unemployment benefits. In the Limburg labour force 32 in every 1,000 receive unemployment benefits, well above the national average of 21 in every 1,000. The ratio for the western provinces stands at 18 in every 1,000. Across all provinces, fewer unemployment benefits were granted in August 2008 than in the same month last year.