# Employment up further at end of 2018

In the period October through December 2018, the number of people aged 15 to 74 years in paid work increased by an average of 13 thousand per month. The number of employed stood at 8.9 million at the end of December 2018. Unemployment declined by an average of 5 thousand per month, ending at 329 thousand. These are people who did not have paid work, and who indicated they had recently looked and had been immediately available for work. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new figures.

Nearly 4.1 million people did not have paid work for a variety of reasons. Another group who were not in employment (nearly 3.8 million) had not looked recently and/or were not immediately available for work. These people are not counted towards the labour force. Their number decreased by an average of 4 thousand per month over the previous three months. At the end of December, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) recorded 263 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits.

## Unemployment indicator

In order to enable comparison of cyclical movements 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 329 thousand unemployed in December, equivalent to 3.6 percent of the labour force. This percentage is somewhat higher than in November, when 3.5 percent of the labour force were unemployed.

## UWV: Number of WW benefits dropped by over 20 percent over 2018

At the end of December 2018, UWV was providing 263 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits. This represents a decline by 4 thousand (-1.4 percent) on the previous month. Year-on-year, the number of benefits dropped by 67 thousand or 20.4 percent. The sharpest drop is seen in the age group 45 to 54 years, both on a monthly and on an annual basis. At the end of 2018, there were 255 thousand persons receiving one or multiple WW benefits.

## UWV: 55 thousand fewer new unemployment (WW) benefits in 2018

In 2018, UWV registered 336 thousand new unemployment (WW) benefit recipients. This is 55 thousand less than in the previous year (-14.0 percent). The sharpest decrease in new unemployment (WW) benefits was seen in educational and technical occupations. In 2018, UWV terminated 403 thousand benefits, a decrease of 69 thousand (-14.7 percent) relative to 2017.

## Nearly 200 thousand more employed in 2018

Last year, the number of people in employment grew by 195 thousand. This is the fourth consecutive year with an increase, with slightly more added each year. The trend in unemployment has been downward over the past four years, albeit more slowly in 2018 (by 87 thousand) than in the previous year. Set against the relative drop in unemployment, this is still a slightly sharper decline on the previous year.

Labour force, year-on-year changes
Unemployed labour force (ILO) (x 1,000)Employed labour force (ILO) (x 1,000)
201413-52
2015-4680
2016-75109
2017-101176
2018-87195

## Unused labour potential

Every month, CBS publishes figures on the total employed and non-employed population. The latter group comprises the unemployed labour force and people not included in the labour force (all according to the ILO definition).

However, the unemployed labour force does not cover the total unused labour potential precisely. Other groups are included, aside from the unemployed according to the ILO indicator. These are people who have either looked for work recently or are immediately available for work. They are counted towards the 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.

CBS reports on these groups quarterly in terms of their size and composition. The overall picture represented here (see figure 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 are not directly comparable with the CBS labour force indicators.