Number of employed continues to rise

© Hollandse Hoogte / Robin Utrecht
Between August and October 2018, the number of people aged 15 to 74 in paid employment grew by an average of 20 thousand per month. Total employment stood at more than 8.8 million in October. Unemployment declined by an average of 4 thousand per month to 337 thousand. This group of people were not in paid employment and indicated they had recently looked and were immediately available for work. Unemployment declined sharply in relative terms among the over-45s. 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. They are not included in the labour force. Their number dropped by an average 12 thousand per month between August and October. At the end of October, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) recorded 269 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 International Labour Organisation (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 337 thousand unemployed in October, equivalent to 3.7 percent of the labour force. This is the same percentage as in September, but slightly below the average in the third quarter (3.8 percent). 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
October337269

UWV: Number of unemployment benefits drops to 269 thousand

At the end of October, the UWV recorded 269 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits. This was down by 4.5 thousand on the previous month, equivalent to a decrease of 1.7 percent. Year-on-year, the number of unemployment benefits fell by 74 thousand (-21.6 percent). Since the latest peak of 470 thousand benefits at the end of March 2016, it has shown an almost continuous decline. A person may receive more than one unemployment benefit. At the end of October 2018, there were 261 thousand recipients of one or more unemployment benefits.

UWV: Both inflow and outflow are down

From January up to and including October 2018, UWV provided 277 thousand new unemployment benefits, i.e. 15 percent down on the same period last year. At the same time, UWV terminated 338 thousand current unemployment benefits in this period. This is 14.4 percent less than one year previously.

Strongest decline in unemployment among the over-45s

Over the previous three months, the sharpest drop in unemployment was seen among 45 to 74-year-olds: starting in July, the unemployment rate in this group fell from 3.7 to 3.3 percent. Unemployment was still rising over the summer among the youngest age group, but October (7.2 percent) was slightly below the level of July (7.3 percent) again. Among the 25 to 44-year-old group, it remained 2.6 percent.

Unemployment rate (%)
   15 to 24 yrs25 to 44 yrs45 to 74 yrs
2011January10.53.74.2
February9.93.74.2
March9.43.64.3
April9.33.64.2
May9.23.64.3
June9.53.64.1
July9.93.74.2
August9.83.94.1
September10.244.1
October10.34.34.3
November10.74.44.4
December10.84.34.3
2012January11.24.54.4
February11.74.24.4
March11.64.44.4
April11.64.64.6
May11.34.64.6
June11.54.74.5
July11.554.6
August11.64.84.6
September12.14.94.7
October12.154.8
November125.25
December12.35.45.2
2013January12.55.75.3
February12.55.85.5
March12.665.7
April12.76.15.8
May12.66.25.9
June136.36
July13.66.56.1
August13.56.66.2
September13.96.66.2
October13.86.66.3
November13.86.56.3
December13.76.76.5
2014January13.56.86.6
February13.86.96.6
March13.66.86.7
April13.26.76.8
May136.56.7
June12.86.36.6
July12.86.16.6
August12.466.5
September125.96.5
October1266.5
November11.966.5
December11.866.7
2015January11.76.16.7
February116.16.7
March10.85.96.7
April10.95.96.6
May11.15.76.5
June11.15.56.6
July11.35.46.4
August11.25.46.4
September11.55.46.5
October11.65.46.6
November11.25.26.5
December11.25.16.4
2016January11.24.96.2
February11.356.2
March11.44.96.1
April11.24.86.1
May11.14.66
June10.84.75.9
July10.84.75.6
August10.64.55.3
September10.54.55.1
October10.54.35.1
November10.34.35.1
December10.24.14.9
2017January9.84.14.8
February9.744.9
March9.63.84.8
April9.53.74.7
May93.94.8
June8.93.74.7
July8.83.84.4
August8.93.74.1
September8.53.74.2
October7.93.54.1
November7.83.53.9
December83.34
2018January7.43.23.9
February7.233.8
March72.93.8
April6.92.93.7
May6.92.83.7
June7.22.73.8
July7.32.63.7
August7.72.63.6
September7.52.63.5
October7.22.63.3

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 (Q3 2018). The total unused labour potential in Q3 2018 comprised nearly 1.1 million people. This was almost 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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