Unemployment slightly up in June

© Hollandse Hoogte / Gerard Til Photo
In the period April through June 2019, the number of people aged 15 to 74 in paid employment grew by 12 thousand per month on average. There were 9.0 million people in work in June. Since March, unemployment has risen by an average of 2 thousand per month and stood at 313 thousand in June. 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 June, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) recorded 243 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, 3.7 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.

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 313 thousand unemployed in June, equivalent to 3.4 percent of the labour force. This was still 3.3 percent in May.

Unemployment 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
June313243

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.

Unemployed still in work three months previously, seasonally adjusted (x 1,000)
JaarMaandFrom employed to unemployed
2015January108
February107
March106
April110
May103
June103
July99
August105
September106
October110
November103
December100
2016January97
February103
March95
April94
May91
June89
July89
August86
September87
October82
November84
December82
2017January83
February85
March82
April77
May79
June81
July80
August78
September77
October74
November72
December66
2018January66
February62
March57
April62
May61
June64
July62
August61
September59
October60
November57
December62
2019January64
February64
March65
April67
May70
June73

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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