Unemployment continues to fall

More recent figures are available on this topic. View the latest figures here.
© Hollandse Hoogte
Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that unemployment declined by an average of 9 thousand a month over the past three months and stood at 473 thousand (5.3 percent of the labour force) in February. The number of people with paid jobs has grown by an average of 13 thousand a month during the past three months. At the end of February, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) paid 416 thousand unemployment benefits. On the third Thursday of each month, CBS and UWV always publish the most recent figures regarding unemployment and unemployment benefits.

UWV: fewer benefits paid to women

UWV reports that the number of current unemployment benefits stood at 416 thousand in February 2017 i.e. a decline by 3 thousand (-0.7 percent) relative to January. The number of female benefit recipients decreased by 1.3 percent, the number of male recipients remained more or less stable compared to January. In traditionally female-dominated sectors like education (-2.8 percent) and health care and welfare (-1.2 percent), the rate of decline was indeed above average.

UWV: more new unemployment benefits in banking, sharp decline in retail chain store sector

Over the first two months of this year, UWV provided 81 thousand new unemployment benefits, 20.3 percent down from the same period last year. Year-on-year, the number of new benefits decreased across all sectors except in the banking sector where a sharp rise (+33 percent) was recorded. Employees older than 50 were hit hardest (+70 percent). Proportionally, the number of new benefits fell most rapidly in the sectors retail chain stores (-61.7 percent) and construction (-49 percent).

Decline unemployment among over-45s levels off

Unemployment has declined since early 2014, initially among young people and 25 to 44-year-olds. The decline among over-45s followed two years later, but the rate in this age group fell more rapidly. Late 2016 and early 2017, the decline in unemployment among over- 45s levelled off and remained stuck at almost 5 percent of the labour force, but unemployment among under-45s continued to fall.

More people find work

There are 12.8 million people in the Netherlands in the age category 15-74. In February, 66.2 percent of them were in paid employment. This age category includes 8.5 million people (4.6 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 13 thousand a month.

Altogether, 4.3 million people in the age category 15-74 do not have paid work; 473 thousand are unemployed and nearly 3.9 million are not looking or immediately available for work. With 2.2 million, women constitute the majority in the latter group.

More unemployed find work

Unemployment is falling because the people who find work outnumber those who become unemployed. Over the past three months, 123 thousand previously employed individuals became unemployed. In the same period, 85 thousand individuals who were still employed three months ago became unemployed. The decline in unemployment was slightly tempered as the number of job seekers who could not find work (172 thousand) was higher than the number of people who gave up looking for work (160 thousand).

Labour market flows