Employment up further at end of 2018

© CBS / Nikki van Toorn
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.

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 August 427256
2011 September442252
2011 October458253
2011 November474258
2011 December473270
2012 January486292
2012 February482299
2012 March487296
2012 April502292
2012 May501291
2012 June502291
2012 July518298
2012 August 517304
2012 September530304
2012 October539310
2012 November554322
2012 December572340
2013 January589369
2013 February601377
2013 March619380
2013 April625380
2013 May632378
2013 June648382
2013 July666395
2013 August 670399
2013 September675400
2013 October680408
2013 November677419
2013 December687438
2014 January691460
2014 February699460
2014 March692454
2014 April684443
2014 May672436
2014 June656431
2014 July648437
2014 August 637430
2014 September630420
2014 October632419
2014 November635425
2014 December643441
2015 January645458
2015 February633455
2015 March626443
2015 April625427
2015 May617416
2015 June611410
2015 July603420
2015 August 604420
2015 September609417
2015 October616421
2015 November596427
2015 December588446
2016 January574465
2016 February581469
2016 March574470
2016 April572461
2016 May560448
2016 June550438
2016 July541432
2016 August 521427
2016 September510424
2016 October502420
2016 November499410
2016 December482412
2017 January480419
2017 February473416
2017 March463415
2017 April456401
2017 May456386
2017 June446372
2017 July436364
2017 August 426362
2017 September422351
2017 October404343
2017 November397337
2017 December395330
2018 January380335
2018 February367330
2018 March357327
2018 April355314
2018 May352301
2018 June354288
2018 July348279
2018 August 353278
2018 September343274
2018 October337269
2018 November326267
2018 December329263

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 (x 1,000)
 Unemployed labour force (ILO)Employed labour force (ILO)

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.

Beroepsbevolking van 15 tot 75 jaar Niet-beroepsbevolking Niet gezocht en niet beschikbaar Wil en/of kan niet werken Wil wel werken Gezocht en niet beschikbaar Beschikbaar en niet gezocht Vanwege weinig resultaat Vanwege andere reden Beroepsbevolking Werkloos (ILO-definitie) Werkzaam Deeltijd Wil meer uren werken, beschikbaar Voltijd

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.

Related items