Unemployment further down

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© Hollandse Hoogte
Statistics Netherlands (CBS) says 560 thousand people were unemployed in May, i.e. 6.3 percent of the Dutch labour force. The number of unemployed dropped by an average of 7 thousand a month over the past three months and has declined by 57 thousand relative to May 2015. According to the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV), 448 thousand unemployment benefits were paid by the end of May.


Following the adoption of the Work and Security Act (Wwz), 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, because people who start working may still be entitled to income supplement under the Unemployment Act (WW) and secondly, their entitlement to a benefit is only terminated after a check has been performed to verify whether their self-reported income matches the income as stated by their employer. These data are available in the Policy administration.

UWV: Fewer new claimants

Over the first five months of 2016, UWV paid 219 thousand new unemployment benefits, a decline by nearly 30 thousand (-12 percent) compared to the same period last year. Apart from retail department stores, the number of new benefit claimants fell across all sectors this year. The number of new claimants fell significantly in the sectors health care and welfare (-23 percent), printing and publishing (-22 percent) and public administration (-21 percent) showed.

Fewer over-25 unemployed

In May, 560 thousand people in the Netherlands were unemployed, versus 581 thousand three months ago. Over-25s almost entirely account for the decline.

Unemployment among 25 to 44-year-olds has fallen almost continuously over the past two years. In May, 169 thousand people in this age category were unemployed. By the end of 2015, unemployment began to decrease among over-45s. In May, 233 thousand over-45s were unemployed. Youth unemployment has been stable in recent months and stood at 158 thousand in May.

Unemployment reached a peak in February 2014 when nearly 700 thousand people (7.9 percent of the labour force) were unemployed. Subsequently, unemployment has fallen almost continuously. In May this year, 6.3 percent of the labour force were unemployed.

More people in work

The number of people in paid work has risen by an average of 17 thousand a month over the past three months. On the one hand, the number of people who found work is higher than the number of people who became unemployed and on the other hand, the number of newcomers on the labour market who found work almost immediately is higher than the number of employed leaving the labour market.

Nearly 8.4 million people employed

The Dutch population includes 12.8 million people in the 15-74 age group. In this group, 65.7 percent were in paid employment, nearly 8.4 million people, of whom 4.5 million are men and nearly 3.9 million are women.

The remaining nearly 4.4 million people in the 15-74 age group do not have paid work: 560 thousand are unemployed and 3.8 million are not looking for a job or not available for the labour market at short notice. With 2.2 million, women constitute the majority in the latter group.

UWV: Sharp decline claimants in sectors subject to seasonal variation

UWV counted 448 thousand current out-of-work benefits by the end of May, 13 thousand (-3 percent) fewer than in April. With 1 percent, the decline among over-55s was below average. The number of current out-of-work benefits declined across all sectors in May relative to April. Proportionally, the decrease was most obvious in sectors affected by seasonal variation, like agriculture (-9 percent), temp agencies (-8 percent) and construction (-7 percent).