There were 4.1 million people who did not have paid work for a variety of reasons. In addition to the unemployed mentioned earlier, 3.7 million people had not looked or/nor been immediately available for work recently. These people are not counted towards the labour force. Their number dropped by 5 thousand per month on average over the previous three months.
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 313 thousand unemployed in June, equivalent to 3.4 percent of the labour force. This was still 3.3 percent in May.
|Unemployment indicator (ILO)|
(15 to 74 yrs, seasonally adjusted) (x 1,000)
|WW benefits (15 yrs to pension entitlement age) (x 1,000)|
UWV: Number of WW benefits still falling
The number of unemployment benefits is still declining steadily. At the end of June 2019, UWV recorded 243 thousand current WW benefits. This is 3.2 percent less than in the previous month and 15.7 percent down year-on-year.
A drop in the number of current WW benefits was seen in all occupational groups. The year-on-year decline was strongest among educational occupations (-20.7 percent) and occupations in the service sector (-20.3 percent) The number of WW benefits also dropped in all sectors.
UWV: Inflow decline coming to a halt
In the first half of 2019, 172 thousand new WW benefits were issued. This is slightly more than during the first six months of 2018 (+0.4 percent). In the previous two years, there was still a substantial decline in unemployment inflow. This decline seems to have come to an end now.
In the first half of 2019, 192 thousand WW benefits were terminated. As this number still exceeds unemployment inflow, the number of current benefits has dropped.
More people losing jobs
Over the previous three months, unemployment rose slightly: by 2 thousand per month on average. It is the first time since October 2015 that unemployment is up again on average over three months. The unemployment rate represents a balance of various flows on the labour market. Unemployment growth in mainly due to a larger flow of employed losing their job. This number has risen since December. In November, there were 57 thousand unemployed who were still in employment three months previously, versus 73 thousand in June. However, the reverse flow - unemployed who find or return to employment - has remained more or less the same.
|Jaar||Maand||From employed to unemployed (x 1,000)|
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.
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.