In the first quarter of this year, 883 thousand people were looking for a job of twelve hours a week or more, the highest number in the last six years. Nearly half of people ready to work were not actively looking for a job or were not immediately available for the labour market.
Half of all people prepared to work not defined as unemployed
The 883 thousand people seeking paid employment in the first quarter of 2012 constitute the so-called unused labour force; 399 thousand were not immediately available for the labour market or were not actively looking. The remaining 484 thousand are defined as unemployed, i.e. they can start within a fortnight and are actively looking for work. The number of unemployed varies according to the economic situation, while the number of other people ready to work remains fairly stable.
People looking for paid jobs of twelve hours a week or more
Many 15 to 45-year-olds not immediately available
Over 170 thousand people ready to work were not immediately available for the labour market in the first quarter of this year. This group is relatively young, as two thirds of them are included in the 15-45 age bracket. Nearly 230 thousand people ready to work were indeed available, but had not actively looked for a job in the past four weeks. Most people in the 55-65 age bracket can start immediately, but are less active job seekers. Older people are often more pessimistic about their chances on the labour market.
People ready to work but not included in the category unemployed by age, 1st quarter 2012
More men than women
Twice as many women as men are ready to work but not immediately available. With nearly 100 thousand, mothers living with a partner constitute the largest group. Proportionally, single mothers are often not available for the labour market at short notice. Three in ten single mothers ready to work are not immediately available versus two in ten mothers living with a partner.
People ready to work but not included in the category unemployed by gender and position in the household, 1st quarter 2012
Godelief Mars and Hendrika Lautenbach