Unemployment further down in July

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© Hollandse Hoogte
  • More people found work in recent months
  • Labour force 100 thousand down from one year previously
  • Marginal growth unemployment benefits

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) announced today that unemployment has fallen for the third month in a row. More people recently found work. Unemployment declined by 12 thousand in July to 8.2 percent of the labour force. The unemployed as well as the employed labour force were reduced by approximately 50 thousand relative to one year previously.

Figures published by the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) indicate a marginal rise in July in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits to 437 thousand, i.e. 6 thousand more than in June.

More people found work in recent months

After adjustment for seasonal effects, unemployment was 645 thousand in July. Over the past three months, unemployment fell by an average of 14 thousand a month. This is predominantly due to the fact that more people found work. The employed labour force grew by an average of 12 thousand a month over the same period. The number of employed people has increased every month since the second quarter. The employed labour force contracted substantially in the first quarter by an average of 18 thousand a month.

Labour force 100 thousand down from one year previously

Currently, unemployment is down by nearly 50 thousand relative to one year previously, when it reached a record level. Despite the recent increase in the number of employed people, the employed labour force also shrank by more than 50 thousand compared by twelve previously, which means that the overall labour force (unemployed plus employed) was reduced by more than 100 thousand relative to July 2013. In the period November 2013 - March 2014, many people withdrew from the labour market.

More unemployment benefits granted in sector education

The number of unemployment benefits rose by 6 thousand to 437 thousand in July. Proportionally, the number of unemployment benefits rose most rapidly in the sector education. Fewer unemployment benefits were granted in the sectors trade and hotels and restaurants. On the regional level, the most substantial growth was recorded in the provinces of Drenthe and Friesland.
The number of existing unemployment benefits rose by 42 thousand (11 percent) compared to July 2013. In the sectors health care & welfare, transport & storage and public administration in particular, the number of unemployment benefits rose rapidly.

Unemployment rate in the Netherlands relatively low

According to the definition used by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), 6.7 percent in the Dutch labour force were unemployed in July, versus 6.8 percent in June. From an international perspective, unemployment in the Netherlands is relatively low, because the unemployment rates in the eurozone and the European Union as a whole were 11.5 and 10.2 percent respectively in June. With approximately 5 percent, Austria, Germany and Malta accounted for the lowest rates.

The main difference between the national and the international definition of labour force lies in the number of weekly working hours. The international definition, which is consistent with the ILO directives, includes all people who are working or willing to work; also, for example, pupils and students with small, part-time jobs. This implies that people who are working at least one hour a week will be included in the labour force. According to the national definition, the labour force includes all people who are working a substantial amount of hours a week or are prepared to do so. Therefore, the limit is set at twelve hours a week.

As from 2015, Statistics Netherlands will base the concept of unemployment on the ILO definition.