In the same period, the number of people in paid employment increased by an average of 7 thousand per month as well, to 9.0 million in August. Around 4.1 million people did not have paid work in August 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 decreased by an average of 5 thousand per month 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. In
August, there were 321 thousand unemployed. Equivalent to 3.5 percent of the labour force.
|Unemployment indicator (ILO)|
(15-74 yrs, seasonally adjusted)
|WW benefits (15 yrs to pension entitlement age)|
UWV: slight increase in unemployment benefits in August
At the end of August 2019, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) provided 237 thousand unemployment (WW) benefits. This represents a year-on-year decline of 41.5 thousand, equivalent to 14.9 percent. Relative to July 2019, the number of current WW benefits was up by 1.1 percent (+2.7 thousand) in August.
UWV: summer peak in benefits for the education sector
The increased inflow in unemployment (WW) benefits was mainly from recipients with educational occupations. This is a recurrent phenomenon. Every year, the number of new WW benefits increases due to inflow from the education sector in the summer months. Temporary employment is terminated due to cessation of contracts and insufficient accrued leave to get paid all through the summer.
This summer peak applies especially to regions where shortages in the labour market are less severe.
Labour market at record level
In August 2019, there were 9.0 million people in paid employment, and 321 thousand unemployed. This adds up to a total of 71.2 percent of the 15 to 74-year-olds. The last time this gross labour force participation rate peaked was in March 2009 (71.0 percent). At the time, there were 8.4 million people in paid employment, and 342 thousand unemployed.
More and more over-45s in particular are active on the labour market. In March 2009, 56.7 percent were either working or seeking and available. In August 2019, this had gone up to 60.9 percent. The increase in the number of employed in this group was pronounced at 736 thousand.
For people under the age of 45, labour participation is lower. The gross labour participation rate among 15 to 24-year-olds stood at 70.9 percent in March 2009 versus 69.9 percent in August 2019. Among the 25 to 45 year-olds, the rate was 89.8 percent over ten years ago, versus 88.2 percent last month.
|15 to 24 yrs||Mar '09||1280||132|
|25 to 44 yrs||Mar '09||3923||106|
|45 to 74 yrs||Mar '09||3229||103|
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 (Q2 2019)<link naar kwartaalbericht>. The total unused labour potential stood at over 1.0 million in Q2 2019, versus 1.1 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.