Number of employed persons further up

© Hollandse Hoogte
In the period March through May, the number of people aged 15 to 74 in paid employment grew by 11 thousand per month on average. There were 8.9 million people in work in May. Since February, unemployment has declined by an average of 3 thousand per month and currently stands at 302 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. At the end of May, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) recorded 251 thousand unemployment (WW) benefits.

There were 4.1 million people who did not have paid work for a variety of reasons. In addition to the unemployed mentioned earlier, 3.8 million people had not looked or/nor been immediately available for work recently. These people are not counted towards the labour force. Their number increased by 1 thousand per month on average over the previous three months.

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. Over the previous three months, unemployment declined by 3 thousand per month. There were 302 thousand unemployed in May, 2 thousand more than in April. 3.3 percent of the labour force was unemployed. At the end of 2018, this percentage was below the lowest pre-crisis level on record for the first time.

Unemployment (ILO indicator, seasonally adjusted) and unemployment benefits (x 1,000)
   Unemployment indicator (ILO)
(15 to 74 yrs, seasonally adjusted)
WW 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
November326267
December329263
2019January329279
February312274
March307268
April300257
May302251

UWV: 50 thousand fewer WW benefits than one year previously

At the end of May 2019, the UWV provided 251 thousand WW benefits. This number was down by 7 thousand (-2.6 percent) on the previous month. Relative to May 2018, there was a decrease in the number of current unemployment benefits of 50 thousand (-16.7 percent).

The number of current WW benefits declined across all sectors. Construction saw the largest decline relative to one year previously (-30.8 percent). The decline was also substantial in the sector care and welfare (-23.5 percent).

At the end of May 2019, there were 244 thousand recipients of one or more unemployment benefits. 27.6 percent of them received their benefit for one year or more. In May 2018, this share was still one-third.

Labour participation rising less rapidly

The number of employed continues to grow, albeit less rapidly. In the previous three months, there was an increase of 11 thousand per month, versus 16 thousand per month in the first quarter of 2019. As a percentage of the population, 68.7 percent were in work in May, just as in March and April. Labour participation among men has remained virtually unchanged since November last year and amounted to 73.1 percent. Among women, it rose by 0.5 percent over the same period reaching 64.3 percent.

Net labour participation (%)
   TotalMenWomen
2008January67.474.160.7
February67.674.460.9
March67.774.460.9
April67.974.661.2
May67.974.661.1
June67.974.761.1
July6874.761.2
August6874.761.2
September67.974.661.3
October68.174.761.4
November68.174.761.5
December68.174.661.5
2009January68.274.761.8
February68.374.662
March68.274.462
April6874.261.7
May67.97461.7
June67.773.861.5
July67.573.661.4
August67.373.561.2
September67.273.361.1
October67.173.260.9
November66.97360.8
December66.972.960.8
2010January66.872.760.8
February66.672.460.8
March66.572.260.7
April66.772.361
May66.872.361.2
June66.672.361
July66.772.461.1
August66.772.361
September66.772.261.1
October66.772.361.2
November66.872.261.3
December66.772.261.3
2011January66.571.961.2
February66.571.761.4
March66.371.661.1
April66.371.461.2
May66.271.361.1
June66.471.661.3
July66.271.561
August66.471.661.1
September66.67261.2
October66.77261.3
November66.77261.4
December66.972.161.6
2012January66.77261.4
February66.671.961.4
March66.571.761.3
April66.571.661.3
May66.571.761.3
June66.471.661.3
July66.371.461.2
August66.571.561.4
September66.471.461.5
October66.471.361.4
November66.271.161.2
December66.17161.1
2013January65.870.761
February65.770.560.9
March65.770.560.9
April65.670.460.8
May65.570.160.8
June65.470.160.7
July65.27060.5
August65.27060.5
September65.370.160.5
October65.470.360.4
November65.370.160.3
December64.969.959.8
2014January64.87059.6
February64.769.859.6
March64.469.759.2
April64.569.859.2
May64.770.159.3
June64.77059.3
July64.870.159.4
August64.970.259.6
September6570.259.8
October65.270.559.9
November65.370.460.1
December65.270.460
2015January65.470.460.3
February65.370.460.3
March65.370.360.3
April65.470.360.4
May65.470.360.5
June65.470.360.5
July65.470.460.4
August65.570.560.5
September65.470.460.3
October65.470.560.2
November65.370.560.1
December65.470.560.3
2016January65.470.660.3
February65.470.560.4
March65.570.560.5
April65.770.760.8
May65.770.560.9
June65.770.660.8
July65.970.761
August6670.861.1
September6670.961.2
October66.171.161.1
November66.171.161.1
December66.271.161.2
2017January66.371.361.4
February66.27161.5
March66.471.261.6
April66.471.361.6
May66.571.261.7
June66.671.361.8
July66.771.561.9
August66.871.562.1
September66.971.762.2
October6771.762.2
November67.171.962.2
December6771.962.2
2018January67.272.162.3
February67.272.162.4
March67.472.262.6
April67.572.262.8
May67.672.463
June67.772.463.1
July67.872.463.2
August6872.663.5
September68.272.763.7
October68.272.863.7
November68.473.163.8
December68.47363.9
2019January68.673.164
February68.673.164.1
March68.773.164.2
April68.773.164.3
May68.773.164.3

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 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.

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 (Q1 2019). The total unused labour potential in Q1 2019 comprised 1.1 million people. This was still 1.2 million one year previously. Development of the total unused labour potential closely follows developments in unemployment.

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 do not correspond one-to-one with the labour force indicators.

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