Unemployment stable in October

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© Hollandse Hoogte
  • More people find work 
  • Number of unemployment benefits hardly changed
  • Increase unemployment benefits in sectors subject to seasonal variation like agriculture and hotels and restaurants

According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the number of unemployed hardly changed in October. In the period May-September, unemployment declined each month. In October, 8 percent in the labour force were unemployed.

Figures released by the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) show that the number of unemployment benefits fell by 500 to 419 thousand.

Unemployment has fallen less rapidly in recent months

Unemployment adjusted for seasonal effects declined by 1 thousand in October to 627 thousand. In September, unemployment also decreased less rapidly than during the period May-August, because more people are competing on the labour market. Part of them do not immediately find work.

Over the past three months, the employed labour force has grown by an average of 13 thousand a month. Unemployment declined less rapidly, because people not belonging to the labour force are also active on the job market and find work.

In October, the total labour force (employed and unemployed) has grown. In the course of 2014, the labour force decline was already down as reported in the quarterly labour force survey published last week.

More young people receive unemployment benefits

In October, 419 thousand unemployment benefits were granted, approximately the same amount as in September. The number of young recipients under the age of 25 increased by nearly 3 percent in October. The number of recipients older than 55 also grew last month, but declined marginally in the other age categories. The increase among young people is largely due to an increase in sectors subject to seasonal variation, like agriculture and hotels and restaurants. The beginning of the new school year partly accounts for the sharp drop by 6.1 percent recorded in the sector education.

The number of unemployment benefits increased by 2.8 percent relative to twelve months ago. The number of unemployment benefits granted to young people under the age of 25 is currently 16.7 percent below last year’s level, whereas the number of unemployment benefits granted to 0ver-55s is 17.6 percent above the level of October 2013.

More benefits stopped in 2014 because people found work

In the period January-October 2014, the UWV paid 500 thousand new unemployment benefits, 1.6 percent down from the same period last year; 518 thousand unemployment benefits were stopped during this period, i.e. 17.8 percent more than last year. The number of benefits ended because people found work increased by 19.4 percent to 255 thousand relative to 2013.

Unemployment in the Netherlands relatively low

According to the definition used by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), 6.5 percent in the Dutch labour force were unemployed in October, the same as in September. From an international perspective, unemployment in the Netherlands is relatively low. The eurozone unemployment rate stood at 11.5 percent in September and the rate for the European Union as a whole was 10.1 percent. With approximately 5 percent, Austria and Germany had the lowest unemployment figures.

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 all people who are working a substantial amount of hours a week. Therefore, the national threshold is set at twelve hours a week.
As from 1 January 2015, the main unemployment indicator will be based upon the ILO definition.