Sustained decline unemployment

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Unemployment fell over the past three months by an average of 14 thousand a month. In January 574 thousand people and 6.5 percent in the labour force were unemployed. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that the number of employed grew by an average of 6 thousand a month over the past three months.

UWV: more unemployment benefits in sectors showing a distinct seasonal pattern 

The Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) states that the number of current unemployment benefits stood at 465 thousand by the end of January 2016, nearly 19 thousand more than in December 2015. Sectors subject to seasonal variation like construction, agriculture and temp agencies showed the largest relative growth. In January 2015 the number of unemployment benefits also rose significantly compared to December 2014. This was prior to adoption of the Work and Security Act (Wwz) in July 2015. Simultaneously with the introduction of the Wwz, a new classification method* on the basis of income adjustment was implemented, which structurally increased the number of current unemployment benefits.

Unemployed labour force (seasonally adjusted) and unemployment benefits

* 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.

Unemployment further down

Unemployment among 25 to 44-year-olds has declined almost continually since January 2014; by 4.9 percent of the labour force in January 2016, as against 5.4 percent three months previously. Youth unemployment also started to decrease in 2014, albeit not continually. Since 2015, youth unemployment has ranged between and 11.5 percent, which is distinctly below the level recorded in January 2014.

Initially, unemployment remained stable among over-45s, but in the past three months a decline set in. In the period October-January unemployment in this age bracket fell from 6.6 to 6.2 percent.

Unemployment by age (seasonally adjusted)

Unemployment down among both genders

In the period October-January, unemployment decreased at the same rate among men and women. In January 6.9 percent of women and 6.1 percent of men in the labour force were unemployed. Women in the age category 25-44 in particular are more often unemployed than their male counterparts.

More people employed

The age category 15-74 in the Netherlands comprises 12.7 million individuals, of whom 8.3 million held paid jobs (4.5 million men and 3.8 million women). Since October last year 18 thousand people have found new jobs. Over-45s almost entirely account for the increase. Among the 8.3 million people with paid work approximately nine in ten are working 12 hours a week or more.

The other 4.4 million 15 to 74-year-olds do not have paid work; 574 thousand are unemployed and 3.8 million are not looking for work or not immediately available for the labour market. With 2.2 million, women are overrepresented in the latter group.

Total and employed labour force (seasonally adjusted)

UWV: more benefit recipients among under-25s and over-55s than one year ago

Compared to January 2015 UWV reports a 1.6 percent increase in current benefits. The number of benefits rose most rapidly (8.8 percent) among under-25s and over-55s. Broken down by sector, the relative increase in benefits was most evident in the sectors multiple stores (+14.8 percent), transport and storage (+11.6 percent) and education (+9.7 percent). The number of unemployment benefits declined dramatically in the construction sector (-18.9 percent).