Unemployment down to 3.7 percent

© Hollandse Hoogte
Between July and September 2018, the number of people aged 15 to 74 in paid employment grew by an average of 22 thousand per month. Total employment stood at more than 8.8 million in September. Unemployment declined by an average of 4 thousand per month to 343 thousand. This group of people indicated they had recently looked and were immediately available for work. They are the unemployed according to the definition of International Labour Organisation (ILO). As a result, the unemployment rate in the Dutch labour force stood at 3.7 in September. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new figures.

More than 4.1 million people did not have paid work for a variety of reasons. In addition to the unemployed mentioned earlier, there were nearly 3.8 million people who had not looked or/nor been immediately available for work recently. Their number dropped by an average 14 thousand per month between July and September. At the end of September, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) recorded 274 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits.

Unemployment indicator

In order to enable comparison of cyclical developments in the labour market between countries, the unemployment indicator of the ILO is often taken as a measure. According to this indicator, the ‘unemployed’ includes all 15 to 74-year-olds who do not have paid work but who have been looking for paid work recently and who are immediately available. There were 343 thousand unemployed in September, equivalent to 3.7 percent of the labour force.

The unemployment rate was lower than in the previous six months. Unemployment stood at 3.9 percent from March up to and including August. The lowest level at the outbreak of the economic crisis, 3.6 percent in the last few months of 2008, has not yet been reached.

Unemployment (ILO indicator, seasonally adjusted) and unemployment benefits (x 1,000)
   Unemployment indicator (ILO)
(15 to 74 yrs, seasonally adjusted)
Unemployment benefits (15 yrs to pension entitlement age)
2011January430284
February425280
March413270
April411261
May414256
June409252
July425254
August427256
September442252
October458253
November474258
December473270
2012January486292
February482299
March487296
April502292
May501291
June502291
July518298
August517304
September530304
October539310
November554322
December572340
2013January589369
February601377
March619380
April625380
May632378
June648382
July666395
August670399
September675400
October680408
November677419
December687438
2014January691460
February699460
March692454
April684443
May672436
June656431
July648437
August637430
September630420
October632419
November635425
December643441
2015January645458
February633455
March626443
April625427
May617416
June611410
July603420
August604420
September609417
October616421
November596427
December588446
2016January574465
February581469
March574470
April572461
May560448
June550438
July541432
August521427
September510424
October502420
November499410
December482412
2017January480419
February473416
March463415
April456401
May456386
June446372
July436364
August426362
September422351
October404343
November397337
December395330
2018January380335
February367330
March357327
April355314
May352301
June354288
July348279
August353278
September343274

UWV: Sustained decline in number of unemployment benefits

At the end of September 2018, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) provided 274 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits. This number was down by 5 thousand (-1.6 percent) on the previous month. Relative to one year previously, there was a decrease in the number of current unemployment benefits of 77 thousand (-22.0 percent). The strongest decline was seen in the age group of 45 to 54 years, both on a monthly basis (-2.4 percent) and on an annual basis (-26.9 percent). At the end of September 2018, there were 265 thousand recipients of one or more unemployment benefits.

UWV: Strong decline in new benefit recipients from the education sector

In the first three quarters of 2018, UWV provided 254 thousand new unemployment benefits, down by 15.4 percent year-on-year. The decline was seen in all occupational classes, but it was strongest among people working in education (-21.7 percent) and those with technical jobs (-21.4 percent).

In the first three quarters of 2018, UWV terminated 311 thousand unemployment benefits, down by 14.1 percent compared to the same period last year.

Sharpest increase in employment among women aged 25 and up

Over the previous three months, employment grew by an average 22 thousand per month. This is mainly related to an increase in the number of 25 to 74-year-old women in paid work. Their number went up by an average 14 thousand per month between July and September.

In comparison: the increase was 6 thousand per month among 25 to 74-year-old men in this period. This mainly concerned the over-45s in paid employment. The number of employed men between 25 and 44 hardly rose. Net labour participation is lowest among this group with respect to the pre-crisis level.

Unused labour potential

Every month, CBS publishes figures on the size of the employed labour force and the non-employed population. The latter group comprises the unemployed labour force as well as people not included in the labour force (all these groups follow the ILO definition). However, the unemployed labour force does not represent all unused labour potential. According to the ILO indicator, this includes other groups of people aside from the unemployed. These people have either looked for work recently or are immediately available for work. They are counted towards unused labour potential but fall outside the scope of the ILO definition of employment. People who work part-time but want to work more hours and are immediately available are also included in the unused labour potential.

These groups are only reported on every quarter in terms of size and composition. The overall picture provided in the table below is based on the latest quarterly figures (Q2 2018). The total unused labour potential in Q2 2018 comprised more than 1.1 million people. This was over 1.3 million one year previously. Development of the total unused labour potential closely follows developments in unemployment according to the ILO definition.

Every month, CBS publishes figures on the labour force in accordance with international guidelines. The corresponding indicators, i.e. the employed and unemployed labour force, are used around the world to describe cyclical developments on the labour market. Monthly figures are essential in this respect. In addition, UWV issues its own monthly figures on unemployment benefits. Figures released by UWV do not correspond one-to-one with the labour force indicators.

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