Unemployment eased in March

21/04/2016 15:00
Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that 574 thousand people were unemployed in March 2016, i.e. 6.4 percent in the labour force. The number of unemployed declined by an average of 5 thousand a month over the past three months. According to the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) 470 thousand unemployment benefits were paid out by the end of March.

Unemployed labour force (seasonally adjusted) and unemployment benefits

UWV: fewer new unemployment benefits

In Q1 2016 UWV paid out 151 thousand new unemployment benefits, a decline by 15 thousand (9 percent) relative to the same period last year. The number of new benefits diminished across all sectors, but in department store segment the number almost doubled. In the sector health care and welfare the number of new unemployment benefits plummeted by 27 percent.

Fewer over-25s unemployed

In March this year 6.4 percent in the labour force were unemployed, versus 6.6 percent in December 2015. Over-25s account for the reduction in the past three months. Among people aged between 25 and 45 unemployment has fallen almost continually in the past two years. In March 4.9 percent were unemployed. Unemployment among over-45s started to fall by the end of last year; 6.1 percent of people over the age of 45 were unemployed. Youth unemployment, on the other hand, has risen marginally in recent months to 11.4 percent last month.

In February 2014 unemployment peaked at nearly 700 thousand or 7.9 percent of the Dutch labour force. Unemployment has fallen almost non-stop since March 2014.

Unemployment (seasonally adjusted) by age

More people in work

The number of people engaged in paid employment has increased by an average of 9 thousand a month over the first three months of 2016. On the one hand, more unemployed became employed than vice versa. On the other hand, the number of newcomers on the labour market who start working immediately exceeds the number of employed who are leaving the labour market.

More than 8.3 million people employed

In the Netherlands 12.7 million people are aged between 15 and 75. In March 65.5 percent of them held paid jobs, i.e. more than 8.3 million people (nearly 4.5 million men and 3.9 million women).
The other 4.4 million 15 to 74-year-olds do not have paid jobs: 574 thousand are unemployed and 3.8 million are not seeking jobs or not immediately available for the labour market. In the latter group women are in the majority with 2.2 million.

Total and employed labour force (seasonally adjusted)

UWV: again substantial growth unemployment benefits in the department store segment

By the end of March UWV 470 thousand unemployment benefit recipients were registered at UWV, i.e. 1 thousand more than in February. Just as in the preceding month, the number of jobless benefits granted in the department store segment grew noticeably by more than 12 percent and is now 60 percent up from one year previously. The sharp increase is due to a number of department chain stores going bankrupt early this year. The number of jobless benefits declined in the sectors education and agriculture.

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.