Unemployment continues to fall

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According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), unemployment declined by an average of 8 thousand per month over the previous three months and stood at 456 thousand (5.1 percent of the labour force) in April. The number of people in paid employment grew by an average of 9 thousand per month over the months February to April. At the end of April, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) paid 401 thousand unemployment benefits.

UWV: sharp drop in number of unemployment benefits

In April 2017, UWV reported a total number of 401 thousand current unemployment (WW(-1.5 percent) was seen in the age group 55 years and over. Broken down by sector, only the number of unemployment benefits in banking (0.1 percent) remained more or less stable compared to March. Other sectors showed falling numbers of benefits. The sharpest drop was recorded in the temporary employment sector, a sector which employs many young people (-8.6 percent).

At the end of April, the number of unemployment benefits was nearly 60 thousand lower than one year previously (-12.8 percent). In the age group 55 years or older the decrease was below the average trend with -7.2 percent.

UWV: far fewer new benefits than last year

In the first four months of this year, UWV provided 148 thousand new unemployment benefits, i.e. 21 percent down from the same period last year. Year-on-year, the number of new benefits decreased in nearly all sectors. The sharpest drop was seen in the sector health care and welfare, particularly in home care (-41.8 percent) and in construction (-38.6 percent). However, the banking sector and the metal industry recorded a rise in number of new benefits this year with 27.7 percent and 5.4 percent respectively. The number of benefits in the banking sector among the group aged 50 years and over increased by almost half (49.8 percent).

Job losses below pre-crisis level

Unemployment has fallen for three consecutive years as more unemployed people found work than workers became unemployed. In April 2017, there were 120 thousand people in employment who were still unemployed three months previously. In the same period, 77 thousand people who were still employed three months previously had become unemployed.

The number of job losses amounted to 77 thousand in April, i.e. the lowest level recorded since the onset of the economic crisis. In March 2008, there were 80 thousand unemployed who were still in paid employment three months previously.

The decline in unemployment was tempered by a growing labour force. The number of job seekers who could not find work (171 thousand over the past three months) exceeded the number of people who gave up looking for work (152 thousand).

Labour market flows

More people in employment

There are 12.8 million people in the Netherlands in the age category 15-74 years. In April, 66.4 percent of them were in paid employment. This is equivalent to 8.5 million people (nearly 4.6 million men and 4 million women). Over the past three months, the number of people in paid employment has grown by an average of 9 thousand per month.

Altogether, 4.3 million people aged 15-74 are not in paid employment; 456 thousand of them are unemployed and nearly 3.9 million are not looking or not immediately available for work. With 2.2 million, women constitute the majority in the latter group.