More people found work and more people looking for work

Over the past three months, unemployment declined by an average of 5 thousand a month. Unemployment continued to fall because - in the same period - 8 thousand people found work each month. At the same time, the number of job seekers grew by an average of 3 thousand a month, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

In February, 581 thousand people (6.5 percent of the labour force) were unemployed, i.e. thousand 7 thousand more than in January.

UWV: distinct increase unemployment benefits in the chain store segment

The Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) registered 469 thousand unemployment benefits in February, i.e. 1 percent more than in January 2016 and 3.1 percent more than in February 2015. The number of unemployment benefits paid in the retail chain store segment increased by nearly 29 percent compared to one month ago and by nearly 44 percent compared to twelve months ago. The sharp increase is partly caused by recent bankruptcies of retail chain stores (e.g. department store group V&D) at the beginning of this year. In various sectors, like education, the number of current benefits declined in February.

Unemployed labour force (seasonally adjusted) and unemployment benefits
Unemployed labour force (seasonally adjusted) and unemployment benefits
 Unemployed labour force (15-74 yrs)Unemployment benefits (15 yrs - retirement age)
2003 J348219
2003 F356228
2003 M368232
2003 A380235
2003 M388239
2003 J394242
2003 J403250
2003 A408254
2003 S413258
2003 O422265
2003 N430273
2003 D439280
2004 J443294
2004 F445302
2004 M455306
2004 A471306
2004 M476304
2004 J478308
2004 J467309
2004 A464309
2004 S465309
2004 O472310
2004 N473314
2004 D486322
2005 J488333
2005 F499340
2005 M499339
2005 A499334
2005 M500326
2005 J491324
2005 J490318
2005 A485317
2005 S484313
2005 O484307
2005 N479306
2005 D476307
2006 J459306
2006 F455309
2006 M444306
2006 A432296
2006 M430289
2006 J413281
2006 J411273
2006 A402268
2006 S398261
2006 O397255
2006 N396252
2006 D388249
2007 J382251
2007 F380248
2007 M364238
2007 A356226
2007 M355217
2007 J349211
2007 J358208
2007 A349204
2007 S347197
2007 O343194
2007 N339192
2007 D334192
2008 J331196
2008 F314192
2008 M312185
2008 A318179
2008 M320174
2008 J319169
2008 J315167
2008 A310165
2008 S316161
2008 O314161
2008 N315164
2008 D321171
2009 J326183
2009 F334191
2009 M342198
2009 A361207
2009 M367220
2009 J374239
2009 J391259
2009 A398270
2009 S408278
2009 O412289
2009 N423297
2009 D434309
2010 J444323
2010 F443329
2010 M440318
2010 A432309
2010 M434300
2010 J434289
2010 J438285
2010 A437281
2010 S433270
2010 O429263
2010 N431264
2010 D433272
2011 J430284
2011 F425280
2011 M413270
2011 A411261
2011 M414256
2011 J409252
2011 J425254
2011 A427256
2011 S442252
2011 O458253
2011 N474258
2011 D473270
2012 J486292
2012 F482299
2012 M487296
2012 A502292
2012 M501291
2012 J502291
2012 J518298
2012 A517304
2012 S530304
2012 O539310
2012 N554322
2012 D572340
2013 J589369
2013 F601377
2013 M619380
2013 A625380
2013 M632378
2013 J648382
2013 J666395
2013 A670399
2013 S675400
2013 O680408
2013 N677419
2013 D687438
2014 J691460
2014 F699460
2014 M692454
2014 A684443
2014 M672436
2014 J656431
2014 J648437
2014 A637430
2014 S630420
2014 O632419
2014 N635425
2014 D643441
2015 J645458
2015 F633455
2015 M626443
2015 A625427
2015 M617416
2015 J611410
2015 J603420
2015 A604420
2015 S609417
2015 O616421
2015 N596427
2015 D588446
2016 J574465
2016 F581469

* 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.

Fewer unemployed than three months ago, but more than in January

Unemployment was 7 thousand higher in February than in January. If developments in the unemployed labour force are monitored over a longer period, unemployment decreased by an average of 5 thousand a month over the past three months. The decrease is less substantial than in the period November-January when unemployment fell by an average of 14 thousand a month.

More than 65 percent employed

The 15 to 74-year-old population in the Netherlands includes 12.7 million people, of whom more than 8.3 million held paid jobs in February (4.5 million men plus 3.8 million women). On average during the past three months, more than 8 thousand people found work each month, a total of 25 thousand, among whom 20 thousand women. Compared to one year ago, employment among both genders rose by 26 thousand.

The other 4.4 million people in the age category 15-74 do not have paid jobs; 581 thousand unemployed and 3.8 million people who are not looking for jobs or are not immediately available for the labour market. With 2.2 million, women constitute the majority in the latter group.

Total and employed labour force (seasonally adjusted)
Total and employed labour force (seasonally adjusted)
 Total labour force (15-74 yrs)Employed labour force (15-74 yrs)
2003 J81717823
2003 F81767820
2003 M81697801
2003 A81757795
2003 M81857797
2003 J81767782
2003 J81917788
2003 A81977790
2003 S81827769
2003 O81947772
2003 N81907761
2003 D81837743
2004 J81987755
2004 F82027757
2004 M82057750
2004 A82287757
2004 M82387761
2004 J82317754
2004 J82427775
2004 A82217758
2004 S82197754
2004 O82377765
2004 N82417768
2004 D82577771
2005 J82547766
2005 F82677768
2005 M82837783
2005 A83057806
2005 M83097810
2005 J83137822
2005 J82987808
2005 A83057820
2005 S83307846
2005 O83387854
2005 N83367857
2005 D83447869
2006 J83417882
2006 F83327876
2006 M83347889
2006 A83347902
2006 M83177887
2006 J83377924
2006 J83387926
2006 A83457943
2006 S83647966
2006 O83847987
2006 N84108014
2006 D84318043
2007 J84438061
2007 F84618081
2007 M84838119
2007 A85008145
2007 M84958140
2007 J85338184
2007 J85358177
2007 A85578208
2007 S85668220
2007 O85768234
2007 N85708231
2007 D85768241
2008 J86088277
2008 F86248310
2008 M86328320
2008 A86708352
2008 M86758355
2008 J86838364
2008 J86868371
2008 A86888379
2008 S86948378
2008 O87098395
2008 N87238408
2008 D87308408
2009 J87558429
2009 F87738439
2009 M87748432
2009 A87648403
2009 M87588391
2009 J87468371
2009 J87418350
2009 A87328334
2009 S87328325
2009 O87198307
2009 N87108287
2009 D87198285
2010 J87178273
2010 F87038260
2010 M86848244
2010 A87028270
2010 M87168282
2010 J87048270
2010 J87218283
2010 A87158278
2010 S87128279
2010 O87188289
2010 N87288298
2010 D87308297
2011 J87048274
2011 F87028277
2011 M86678253
2011 A86638252
2011 M86558240
2011 J86778268
2011 J86748249
2011 A86938267
2011 S87408299
2011 O87688309
2011 N87948320
2011 D88108337
2012 J88098323
2012 F88048322
2012 M88028316
2012 A88198317
2012 M88298329
2012 J88298327
2012 J88348317
2012 A88648347
2012 S88818352
2012 O88888349
2012 N88868332
2012 D88978325
2013 J88938304
2013 F88948294
2013 M89128293
2013 A89068281
2013 M89038270
2013 J89118263
2013 J89128247
2013 A89198249
2013 S89348259
2013 O89518271
2013 N89378260
2013 D89018214
2014 J88968205
2014 F88948195
2014 M88538161
2014 A88558171
2014 M88648192
2014 J88468190
2014 J88548206
2014 A88588222
2014 S88578227
2014 O88938261
2014 N89018266
2014 D89018258
2015 J89248279
2015 F89118278
2015 M89028276
2015 A89098285
2015 M89128295
2015 J89108299
2015 J89028299
2015 A89108307
2015 S89088300
2015 O89168300
2015 N88958299
2015 D88988310
2016 J88928318
2016 F89058324

UWV: fewer new and terminated benefits than last year

UWV granted 101 thousand new unemployment benefits in the first two months of this year, i.e. 21 thousand (-17%) down from the same period in 2015. Only in the chain store segment new unemployment benefits increased in number (+83 %) in January and February compared to the first two months of 2015. The number of benefits terminated in the first months of 2016 was 78 thousand, almost 30 thousand fewer than in 2015. This is largely due to the steep decline in benefits as people moved from unemployment to employment.

Unused labour potential

Somebody is defined as unemployed if they have recently been looking for work and are available for the labour market at short notice, but the so-called unused labour potential is not identical to the unemployed labour force. For example, there are people who are only available for the labour market or have only been looking for work. Last year this group included more than half a million individuals. Another seven percent of employed are available for more working hours (over one million people).

Flowchart