Unemployment almost unchanged

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  • Unemployment stable at 8 percent
  • More people in work in last three months
  • Number of unemployment benefits up by 6 thousand
  • Fewer benefits in education sector

According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands today, 630 thousand people in the Netherlands were unemployed in November. This has been stable for the last few months now. Following a slight fall in September and October, there was a small rise of 3 thousand in November. Unemployment fell substantially from May to August. In November, just as in October, 8 percent of the labour force were unemployed. In the third quarter, 45 percent of all unemployed had been out of work for at least a year.  Unemployment was relatively high in the age group 45 and older: six in ten of the labour force.

According to figures from the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV), the number of people claiming unemployment benefit fell by 6 thousand, to 425 thousand.

Unemployment almost unchanged, more people in work

After adjustment for seasonal effects, unemployment in the Netherlands was 630 thousand in November. Unemployment has hardly changed in the last three months. The employed labour force has risen by an average 8 thousand per month in the last three months. In other words, more people entered the labour market, but this has resulted in an increase in the number of people in work. 

Unemployment among over-45s stable, but often long-term

In the various age groups, too, the number of unemployed has remained stable in the last three months. For 15-44 year-olds the number of unemployed was 10 percent lower than six months ago. In older age groups, unemployment remained unchanged compared with May. For many over-45s unemployment is long-term: in the third quarter of 2014 over 60 percent of older unemployed people had been out of work for at least a year.

Number of young people claiming unemployment benefit continues to rise

The number of unemployment benefit claimants in November was 425 thousand, 1.4 percent more than in October. Developments in the number of unemployment benefits differ between sectors of industry: from a 14.5 percent increase for agriculture to a 6.1 percent decrease for education. The number of benefits rose in all age groups. The number of claimants younger than 25 rose by most in November: nearly 7 percent. In October the number benefits paid in this age group had already risen by 2.9 percent. The increase in the number of benefits paid to under-25s was mainly in the sectors hotels and restaurants and temp agencies.

More benefits in public administration sector than last year

Compared with the same period last year, the number of unemployment benefits was 1.5 percent higher. The number of benefits paid to under-25s is now 16.1 percent below the level of last year. The Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) paid 15.7 percent more benefits than in November last year. Compared with November last year, the number of benefits rose by relatively most in the public administration sector (+18.2 percent). The number of benefits paid in the construction industry fell by nearly 16 percent.

Dutch unemployment relatively low

According to the definition used by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Dutch unemployment was 6.5 percent of the labour force in November. This is the same as in October. In an international perspective, unemployment is thus relatively low in the Netherlands: in the Eurozone unemployment was 11.5 percent in October, in the European Union 10.0 percent. At around 5 percent unemployment was lowest in Austria and Germany.

The main difference between the national and the international definition of the 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. It has a threshold of one hour: everyone who works or wants to work for at least one hour week is part of the labour force. According to the Dutch national definition, the labour force includes people who work for a significant number of hours a week. The national threshold is thus set at twelve hours a week.

From 2015, Statistics Netherlands will base its main unemployment indicator on the ILO definition.