Unemployment further down

More recent figures are available on this topic. View the latest figures here.

In the fourth quarter of 2015 unemployment declined by an average of 7 thousand a month, whereas the downward trend stalled in August and September. In December 588 thousand people in the Netherlands were unemployed, i.e. 6.6 percent of the labour force. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that the number of employed rose marginally over the past quarter by an average of 3 thousand a month.

UWV: More unemployment benefits, but decline over 2015

In December last year 446 thousand unemployment benefits were paid, a 1.1 percent increase from December 2014. Multiple stores, the sector hotels and restaurants and the sector education saw an increase in unemployment benefits in December relative to December 2014. The introduction of the Work and Security Act also contributed to the growth in benefits. Unemployment fell sharply in the construction sector.

On average, 430 thousand unemployment benefits were paid each month last year, i.e. 1.8 percent down from the average over 2014.

Unemployed labour force (seasonally adjusted) and unemployment benefits

Unemployment reduced most substantially among 25 to 44-year-olds in 2015

In December 2014 7.2 percent in the Dutch labour force were unemployed, as against 6.6 percent in December 2015. The rate declined most rapidly in the age category 25-44. Unemployment among 25 to 44-year-olds decreased from 6.0 percent in December 2014 to 5.1 percent in December 2015. The rate among over-45s fell only marginally last year, from 6.7 to 6.4 percent.

Fewer young people unemployed

Youth unemployment fell relatively quickly in the first quarter of 2015, from 11.8 to 10.8 percent in March, the lowest rate recorded over the past four years. Subsequently, it began to rise, but in the last three months youth unemployment was falling again, by an average of 2 thousand a month. The youth unemployment rate for December stood at 11.2 percent.

Unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted)

Small increase in employment

The 15 to 74-year-old population in the Netherlands comprises 12.7 million individuals. In December 65.4 percent of them, 8.3 million people in absolute figures (4.5 million men and 3.8 million women) had paid jobs. In the first half of 2015 employment in this age category grew by more than 40 thousand. Subsequently, the number of employed hardly changed, but increased by 10 thousand in the past three months.

Total and employed labour force (seasonally adjusted)

UWV: Fewer new benefits in 2015

Last year, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) paid 583 thousand new unemployment benefits, 3.5 percent fewer than in 2014. The number of new benefits declined across most sectors. The number of unemployment benefits fell most markedly (by 25.2 percent) in the construction sector. The number of new benefits rose in the sectors transport and communication, multiple stores and health care and welfare and among over-55s.

Following the adoption of the Work and Security Act, a new classification method on the basis of income adjustment was introduced in July 2015, which structurally increased the number of current unemployment benefits; firstly, incomes of people working for low wages are supplemented under the Unemployment Act and secondly, their benefits can only be terminated if they receive sufficient income.
CBS uses model-based estimates to calculate monthly labour force data. In order to reduce the margins on month-on-month changes, the number of unemployment benefits was incorporated in the unemployment model as an additional source of information. The introduction of the Work and Security Act has corrupted data about the number of unemployment benefits. As a result, this information is not accurate any more and from November 2015 onwards these data are no longer referred to. Therefore, labour force figures prior to November 2015 have been adjusted.