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)
2011 January430284
2011 February425280
2011 March413270
2011 April411261
2011 May414256
2011 June409252
2011 July425254
2011 August427256
2011 September442252
2011 October458253
2011 November474258
2011 December473270
2012 January486292
2012 February482299
2012 March487296
2012 April502292
2012 May501291
2012 June502291
2012 July518298
2012 August517304
2012 September530304
2012 October539310
2012 November554322
2012 December572340
2013 January589369
2013 February601377
2013 March619380
2013 April625380
2013 May632378
2013 June648382
2013 July666395
2013 August670399
2013 September675400
2013 October680408
2013 November677419
2013 December687438
2014 January691460
2014 February699460
2014 March692454
2014 April684443
2014 May672436
2014 June656431
2014 July648437
2014 August637430
2014 September630420
2014 October632419
2014 November635425
2014 December643441
2015 January645458
2015 February633455
2015 March626443
2015 April625427
2015 May617416
2015 June611410
2015 July603420
2015 August604420
2015 September609417
2015 October616421
2015 November596427
2015 December588446
2016 January574465
2016 February581469
2016 March574470
2016 April572461
2016 May560448
2016 June550438
2016 July541432
2016 August521427
2016 September510424
2016 October502420
2016 November499410
2016 December482412
2017 January480419
2017 February473416
2017 March463415
2017 April456401
2017 May456386
2017 June446372
2017 July436364
2017 August426362
2017 September422351
2017 October404343
2017 November397337
2017 December395330
2018 January380335
2018 February367330
2018 March357327
2018 April355314
2018 May352301
2018 June354288
2018 July348279
2018 August353278
2018 September343274
2018 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
2011 January10.53.74.2
2011 February9.93.74.2
2011 March9.43.64.3
2011 April9.33.64.2
2011 May9.23.64.3
2011 June9.53.64.1
2011 July9.93.74.2
2011 August9.83.94.1
2011 September10.244.1
2011 October10.34.34.3
2011 November10.74.44.4
2011 December10.84.34.3
2012 January11.24.54.4
2012 February11.74.24.4
2012 March11.64.44.4
2012 April11.64.64.6
2012 May11.34.64.6
2012 June11.54.74.5
2012 July11.554.6
2012 August11.64.84.6
2012 September12.14.94.7
2012 October12.154.8
2012 November125.25
2012 December12.35.45.2
2013 January12.55.75.3
2013 February12.55.85.5
2013 March12.665.7
2013 April12.76.15.8
2013 May12.66.25.9
2013 June136.36
2013 July13.66.56.1
2013 August13.56.66.2
2013 September13.96.66.2
2013 October13.86.66.3
2013 November13.86.56.3
2013 December13.76.76.5
2014 January13.56.86.6
2014 February13.86.96.6
2014 March13.66.86.7
2014 April13.26.76.8
2014 May136.56.7
2014 June12.86.36.6
2014 July12.86.16.6
2014 August12.466.5
2014 September125.96.5
2014 October1266.5
2014 November11.966.5
2014 December11.866.7
2015 January11.76.16.7
2015 February116.16.7
2015 March10.85.96.7
2015 April10.95.96.6
2015 May11.15.76.5
2015 June11.15.56.6
2015 July11.35.46.4
2015 August11.25.46.4
2015 September11.55.46.5
2015 October11.65.46.6
2015 November11.25.26.5
2015 December11.25.16.4
2016 January11.24.96.2
2016 February11.356.2
2016 March11.44.96.1
2016 April11.24.86.1
2016 May11.14.66
2016 June10.84.75.9
2016 July10.84.75.6
2016 August10.64.55.3
2016 September10.54.55.1
2016 October10.54.35.1
2016 November10.34.35.1
2016 December10.24.14.9
2017 January9.84.14.8
2017 February9.744.9
2017 March9.63.84.8
2017 April9.53.74.7
2017 May93.94.8
2017 June8.93.74.7
2017 July8.83.84.4
2017 August8.93.74.1
2017 September8.53.74.2
2017 October7.93.54.1
2017 November7.83.53.9
2017 December83.34
2018 January7.43.23.9
2018 February7.233.8
2018 March72.93.8
2018 April6.92.93.7
2018 May6.92.83.7
2018 June7.22.73.8
2018 July7.32.63.7
2018 August7.72.63.6
2018 September7.52.63.5
2018 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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