Employment and unemployment up

In January 2015, the number of employed and unemployed workers rose by 21 thousand and 2 thousand respectively. As a result, the total Dutch labour force grew to more than 8.9 million. With 7.2 percent, the proportion of unemployed remained the same as in December 2014. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) announced today that - altogether - 645 thousand people in the age category 15-74 were looking for paid employment.

The number of job seekers has risen during the past four months. The number of unemployed grows because not all people immediately find work. In the period March-September, unemployment decreased. Figures released by the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) show that the number of unemployment benefits has risen by 17 thousand in January to 458 thousand. At the beginning of this year, the number of unemployment benefits was marginally below the level of the same period in 2014.

More people active on the labour market

On average, unemployment increased by 4 thousand a month over the past three months. In the same period, the employed labour force also increased, by an average of 6 thousand a month. The increase in the labour force is partly due to the fact that more young people are entering the job market, but older people are also longer actively participating on the labour market.

With the publication of this news release, the main unemployment indicator will be based on the definition by the International Labour Office (ILO). The main difference between the national and the 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 pupils and students working for only a few hours a week. This means that all people working at least one hour a week are by definition included in the labour force. According to the Dutch national definition, the labour force only includes people who are working or willing to work for a substantial number of hours a week. The threshold is set at twelve hours a week. The international definition of labour force includes all 15 to 74-year-olds, but the national definition only includes all people under the age of 65. As a result of improvements in the observation method, all figures regarding unemployment and labour force have been adjusted. Statistics Netherlands will continue to publish figures according to the national as well as the ILO definition of unemployment. More information on the current changes were published earlier.

Nearly one million small jobs

Last year, 8.2 million people aged 15-74 worked at least one hour a week; 12 percent of them were working less than twelve hours a week. According to the ILO (see paragraph above), this group is included in the labour force, but according to the national definition, they are not. More than half of all jobs covering less than twelve hours a week are filled by people under the age of 25. In the age category 25-64, small jobs are rare. Although the proportion of small jobs is relatively high among 65 to 74-year-olds, the number of people involved is small since few people in this age category are still working.

Number of unemployment benefits marginally down

The number of unemployment benefits rose by 0.6 percent to 458 thousand compared to January 2014. The number of male claimants decreased, the number of female claimants increased. The number of unemployment benefits fell most rapidly in sectors and occupations where men are overrepresented, e.g. construction (-19 percent) and technology and manufacturing industry (-7 percent). The Employee Insurance Agency registered a relatively large increase in the number of unemployment benefits in the sector health care and welfare (+14 percent), in (para)medical professions (+7 percent) and in caregiving and service-providing occupations (+5 percent), i.e. sectors where the majority of employees are women.

The amount of unemployment benefits rose most rapidly among over-50s (10 percent). It fell by 15.3 percent among under-25s.

The number of unemployment benefits increased by 3.8 percent in January 2015 compared to December 2014, versus 5.2 percent in January 2014 compared to December 2013.

Considerable increase in over-50s moving from unemployment to employment

In January 2015, the Employee Insurance Agency granted 75 thousand new unemployment benefits, 4.4 percent down from January 2014; 58 thousand benefits were ended, 4.5 percent more than one year previously. The number of unemployment benefits ended because people found work increased by 8.6 percent to 29 thousand relative to January 2014. Among over-50s in particular the number of benefits rose rapidly by 28 percent. In the age category under 25, the number of unemployment benefits declined by 10 percent, because people found work.

Unemployment rate in the Netherlands relatively low

The unemployment rate in the Netherlands was 7.2 percent of the labour force in January 2015, the same as in December. From an international perspective, the Dutch rate is relatively low. The eurozone rate was 11.4 percent in December and the rate across the entire European Union was 9.9 percent. With approximately 5 percent, Austria and Germany accounted for the lowest rates. The unemployment rate in Germany has fallen continually during the last decade. With 8.5 and more than 10 percent respectively, the unemployment rates in Belgium and France have been fairly stable over the past two years.