Unemployment continues downward trend

18/11/2016 10:00
© Hollandse Hoogte
Unemployment in the Netherlands fell by 13 thousand per month over the previous three months, ending at 502 thousand in October. This amounts to 5.6 percent in the labour force. As figures by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) indicate, the rate of decline seen during the – late – summer months of 2016 is continuing into autumn. By the end of October, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) was providing 420 thousand unemployment benefits.
The labour market continues to expand, as was the case during the summer months. This means the number of people in employment is growing at a faster rate than the decline in unemployment, with relatively more people aged 45 and over finding employment.
Unemployment and unemployment benefits, monthly data

UWV: steady decline in unemployment benefits

The number of current unemployment (WW) benefits has been falling since April 2016. Towards the end of October, UWV paid 420 thousand current unemployment benefits, down 5 thousand (-1.1 percent) compared to September.
In October, the number of unemployment benefits declined most rapidly in the sectors construction (-5.5 percent) and education (-4.0 percent). The sector care and welfare has shown a positive trend since the beginning of this year with 72 thousand current benefits by end of October, 1.8 percent fewer than the previous month and down by 4 percent year-on-year. The number of benefits only went up in sectors which are affected by the seasons, e.g. hotels and restaurants (+4.1 percent) and agriculture (+3.8 percent).

UWV granting fewer new benefits in 2016

In the period January to October 2016, UWV granted 411 thousand new unemployment benefits, down 67 thousand (-14.1 percent) on the same period last year. Developments are very unequal across the sectors, ranging from a 29.6 percent decline in the sector construction to a 30.3 percent rise in the retail and wholesale trade sector; the latter caused by several major bankruptcies in that sector earlier this year.

Unemployment decline strong in European perspective

The unemployment rate decline in the Netherlands has been well above the average seen across the European Union this year. Compared with neighbouring countries, the downward trend is most significant in the Netherlands. The decrease is even sharper in eastern Europe; the Czech Republic now has the lowest unemployment rate in the EU, Hungary has meanwhile overtaken the Netherlands and Poland is following closely.
Top 10 lowest unemployment rates in EU (seasonally adjusted)

More people at work

There are currently 12.8 million people aged 15 to 74 years in the Netherlands. In October, 66.1 percent had paid employment. This amounts to nearly 8.5 million people, including over 4.5 million men and 3.9 million women. Over the past three months, the number of people in paid employment has grown by an average of 17 thousand per month; over three-fourths were aged 45 and over.
Among the group aged 15 to 74 years, more than 4.3 million do not have paid employment. Of this group, 502 thousand are unemployed while 3.8 million are either not looking or not immediately available for work. In the latter group, women form the majority with 2.2 million.
Total and working labour force (seasonally adjusted), monthly data

Increasingly sharper decline in unemployment

The number of unemployed has decreased at an ever faster pace in recent months. This is mainly due to fewer working people losing their jobs. At the same time, the number of unemployed finding a job remains consistently high.
Total labour market supply (people in employment and the unemployed) is rising slightly as more people enter the labour market than are leaving.