Unemployment drops below half a million

For the first time since early 2012, unemployment has fallen to below half a million again. The number of unemployed stood at 499 thousand in November, representing 5.6 percent of the labour force. According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the drop over the past three months has been slightly below the level of the past summer, with an average decline of 7 thousand per month. At the end of November, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) paid 410 thousand unemployment benefits.

Although the number of people in work continued to rise, this growth was less pronounced as well, levelling off especially among employed people over age 45. As a result, the significant drop in the number of older unemployed that was seen in recent months did not follow through.

Unemployed and unemployment benefits
Unemployed and unemployment benefits
 Unemployed (15-74 yrs seasonally adjusted)Unemployment benefits (15 yrs-retirement age)
08 Nov315164
08 Dec321171
2009 Jan326183
2009 Feb334191
2009 Mar342198
2009 Apr361207
2009 May367220
2009 Jun374239
2009 Jul391259
2009 Aug398270
2009 Sep408278
2009 Oct412289
2009 Nov423297
2009 Dec434309
2010 Jan444323
2010 Feb443329
2010 Mar440318
2010 Apr432309
2010 May434300
2010 Jun434289
2010 Jul438285
2010 Aug437281
2010 Sep433270
2010 Oct429263
2010 Nov431264
2010 Dec433272
2011 Jan430284
2011 Feb425280
2011 Mar413270
2011 Apr411261
2011 May414256
2011 Jun409252
2011 Jul425254
2011 Aug427256
2011 Sep442252
2011 Oct458253
2011 Nov474258
2011 Dec473270
2012 Jan486292
2012 Feb482299
2012 Mar487296
2012 Apr502292
2012 May501291
2012 Jun502291
2012 Jul518298
2012 Aug517304
2012 Sep530304
2012 Oct539310
2012 Nov554322
2012 Dec572340
2013 Jan589369
2013 Feb601377
2013 Mar619380
2013 Apr625380
2013 May632378
2013 Jun648382
2013 Jul666395
2013 Aug670399
2013 Sep675400
2013 Oct680408
2013 Nov677419
2013 Dec687438
2014 Jan691460
2014 Feb699460
2014 Mar692454
2014 Apr684443
2014 May672436
2014 Jun656431
2014 Jul648437
2014 Aug637430
2014 Sep630420
2014 Oct632419
2014 Nov635425
2014 Dec643441
2015 Jan645458
2015 Feb633455
2015 Mar626443
2015 Apr625427
2015 May617416
2015 Jun611410
2015 Jul603420
2015 Aug604420
2015 Sep609417
2015 Oct616421
2015 Nov596427
2015 Dec588446
2016 Jan574465
2016 Feb581469
2016 Mar574470
2016 Apr572461
2016 May560448
2016 Jun550438
2016 Jul541432
2016 Aug521427
2016 Sep510424
2016 Oct502420
2016 Nov499410

UWV: Benefit payments fall sharply, mostly in younger population

At the end of November, UWV paid 410 thousand current unemployment benefits, down by 10 thousand (-2.4 percent) on October. The decline was most significant among young adults under 25 (-4.3 percent). The falling trend also continued in the over-50 age group. For the first time since June 2015, the number of benefits provided to unemployed over-50s fell below 200 thousand.

Considering each individual sector, the decline in November was most substantial in education (-7.6 percent) and in construction (-6.7 percent). The number of benefits rose modestly in seasonal sectors such as hotels and restaurants and agriculture.

Construction, care sectors record fewer new benefits

Up until 1 December 2016, UWV granted 443 thousand new unemployment benefits, a decline of 79 thousand (-15.1 percent) relative to the same period last year. This year, the number of new benefits is down in all sectors except in wholesale trade (26 percent). The biggest drop in number of new benefits is in the sectors construction (-32.8 percent) and health care and welfare (-24.9 percent).

Unemployment declines less sharply among over-45s

In November, as in October, 5.6 percent of the Dutch labour force were unemployed. The six months prior to October showed a continually declining unemployment rate. This decline was particularly strong among the older age group. Over the past two months, the unemploment rate has been stuck at 5.1 among the over-45s. For 25 to 45-year-olds, it remained at the same level (4,3) while among the younger age group, the unemployment rate did decline, from 10.5 in October to 10.3 in November.

Rate of unemployment (seas. adjusted) by age
Rate of unemployment (seas. adjusted) by age
 15-24 yrs25-44 yrs45-74 yrs
2016 Apr11.24.86.1
2016 May11.14.66
2016 Jun10.84.75.9
2016 Jul10.84.75.6
2016 Aug10.64.55.3
2016 Sep10.54.55.1
2016 Oct10.54.35.1
2016 Nov10.34.35.1

More people in employment

There are 12.8 million people aged 15 to 74 years in the Netherlands. In November, 66.1 percent had paid work, nearly equivalent to 8.5 million people including around 4.6 million men and 3.9 million women. In de afgelopen drie maanden is het aantal mensen met betaald werk met gemiddeld 11 duizend per maand gegroeid.

Among the group aged 15 to 74 years, more than 4.3 million do not have paid employment. Of this group, 499 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.

Unemployment decline slowing

The decline in unemployment has slowed down over the past three months. Compared to previous months, more people have entered the labour market than left. In addition, they have more difficulty finding a job than in previous months.

Total labour supply (employed plus unemployed) has grown slightly over the past three months.

Labour market flows