Unemployment continues to fall

15/09/2016 15:00
Among over-45s in particular unemployment has declined substantially during the past few months. In August 521 thousand people were unemployed (5.8 percent of the employed labour force), versus 581 thousand six months ago (6.5 percent in the labour force). Statistics Netherlands says the number of employed rose by 108 thousand. Towards the end of August, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) paid 427 thousand unemployment benefits.
Eight years ago in August 2008, the unemployment rate reached its lowest level in years (3.6 percent). Five and a half years later (February 2014) unemployment peaked when 7.9 percent in the labour force were unemployed. Subsequently, the unemployment rate fell to 5.8 percent.
Today, the digital publication on the labour market ‘De arbeidsmarkt in cijfers' (Dutch only) will be released. This publication provides an elaborate overview of the situation on the Dutch labour market in 2015.

Unemployed and unemployment benefits, monthly data, Feb 2011-Aug 2016

UWV: fewer people claim unemployment benefits

In the period January-August 2016, UWV granted 334 thousand new unemployment benefits , i.e. 56 thousand fewer (-14.4 percent) than in the same period last year. The reduction among over-55s was only 8.2 percent. In all sectors except retail department stores and the metal industry, the number of new unemployment benefits declined. In the sectors construction (-28.9 percent), printing and publishing (-25.4 percent) and health care and welfare (-24.6 percent), the number of benefit claimants decreased.

UWV: current unemployment benefits gradually down

The number of current unemployment benefits has fallen since April this year. Towards the end of August, UWV reported nearly 427 thousand current benefits, 5 thousand (-1.2 percent) down from July. Proportionally, current benefits decreased most among under-25s (-2.5 percent). In relative terms, the number of benefits declined most in sectors which tend to be sensitive to seasonal fluctuations, like construction (-5.2 percent) and agriculture (-5.1 percent). The number of unemployment benefits increased by 6.9 percent in the sector education as many temporary contracts were terminated at the end of the school year. It mainly concerns teachers in primary education and teachers of general subjects.

Sharp fall unemployment among over-45s in the past six months

In the past six months, the reduction in unemployment was most obvious among over-45s. People in this age bracket accounted for more than half of the decrease. After the peak in February 2014, unemployment started to fall, in particular among 25 to 45-year-olds. The number of unemployed over the age of 45 remained stable for two years, but during the past six months unemployment has decreased, also among over-45s. CBS reported earlier that unemployment among over-55s was below the level of one year previously. The share of long-term unemployed, on the other hand, has not fallen.

Employed labour force (seasonally adjusted)

More people in work

The population in the Netherlands includes 12.8 million people in the 15-74 age bracket, of whom 66.0 percent (8.4 million people, approximately 4.5 million men and 3.9 million women) had paid work in August. In the past six months, the number of people holding paid jobs has grown by 108 thousand. The increase includes more women than men.
The other nearly 4.4 million 15 to 74-year-olds do not have paid jobs; 521 thousand of them are unemployed and 3.8 million are not seeking work or not immediately available for the labour market. In the latter group, women constitute the majority (2.2 million).

Total and employed labour force (seasonally adjusted)

Unemployment falling more rapidly

Unemployment has fallen at an increasing rate in recent months, mainly because fewer employed lose their jobs. The number of unemployed who find work remains invariably high. The total number people on the labour market (employed plus unemployed) rose slightly, because newcomers on the labour market outnumbered those withdrawing from the labour market.