Unemployment further down in September

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© Hollandse Hoogte
  • Number of people who find new jobs continues to grow
  • Male unemployment distinctly down over the past five months.
  • Number of unemployment declines further
  • Fewer unemployment benefits in sectors construction and education

Statistics Netherlands announced today that unemployment has fallen for the fifth consecutive month in September. Unemployment declined by 4 thousand relative to August as more people found work. In September, 8 percent of the labour force were unemployed.

Figures provided by the Employee Insurance Agency indicate that the number of unemployment benefits was reduced by 11 thousand to 420 thousand. The reduction was found across all age categories except among over-55s.

Fewer unemployed, more people find work

Adjusted for seasonal variation, 628 thousand people were unemployed in September. On average, unemployment was reduced by 10 thousand a month over the past three months. The employed labour force - defined as people working at least twelve hours a week - has increased by the same amount as the unemployed labour force has decreased. As a result of jobs being lost, the employed labour force still contracted substantially in the first quarter of 2014 by an average of 18 thousand a month, but the employed labour force has grown since April, as more people entered the labour market.

Male unemployment rapidly down

Over the past five months, unemployment was reduced by nearly 60 thousand. With 37 thousand, unemployment among men fell faster than among women. In the male population, employment increased less rapidly than unemployment decreased, which means that fewer men are active on the labour market. In the female population, the reverse situation occurred.

Unemployment benefits further down

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits fell by 2.4 percent to 420 thousand. In September 2013, the number of benefits remained virtually the same as in August. The number of benefits was reduced across all age categories in September, except among over-55s. The total number of benefits grew by nearly 5 percent relative to one year previously. The number of benefit claimants under the age of 25 decreased by 15.8 percent compared to one year previously. The number of 25 to 44-year-old benefit claimants was also below the level of one year previously, but more benefits were granted to over-45s. 

Fewer unemployment benefits in sectors construction and education

Relative to the preceding month, the number of unemployment benefits declined across nearly all sectors in September, most distinctly in construction and education. With 18.6 and 17.8 percent respectively, the number of benefits in the sector public administration and the sector health care and welfare was significantly above the level of September 2013. Construction and education are the only sectors to show a decrease in September 2014 relative to September 2013.

More benefits terminated in 2014 than in 2013

Over the first three quarters of this year, 445 thousand new unemployment benefits were granted by the Employee Insurance Agency, i.e. 1.1 percent down from the same period last year. So far this year, 463 thousand benefits were stopped, i.e. 18.7 percent more than last year. This year, fewer new benefits were granted than ended; 228 thousand benefits were stopped, because people found work (20.3 percent more than last year).

Unemployment rate in the Netherlands relatively low

According to the definition used by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), 6.5 percent was unemployed in September, versus 6.6 percent in August. From an international perspective, unemployment in the Netherlands is relatively low. The unemployment rate in the Eurozone was 11.5 percent in August, versus 10.1 percent in the European Union as a whole. At around 5 percent, unemployment was lowest in Austria, Germany and Malta.

The main difference between the national and international definition of labour force is the number of weekly working hours.  The international definition, which complies with the ILO guidelines, comprises everyone who works or wants to work, including students working for only a few hours a week. This means that everyone who works or wants to work at least one hour a week is covered by the ILO definition of labour force. According to the Dutch national definition, the labour force includes people who are working for a substantial number of hours a week. Therefore, the national threshold is set at twelve hours a week.