Number of employed persons further up

© CBS / Nikki van Toorn
Between July and September 2019, the number of people in paid employment grew by 8 thousand per month on average, reaching a total of nearly 9.0 million in September. In the same period, unemployment rose by an average of 3 thousand per month to 323 thousand. Just as in August, 3.5 percent of the labour force aged 15 to 74 years were unemployed. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new figures. At the end of September, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) recorded 233 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits.

There were 4.1 million people in September 2019 who did not have paid work for a variety of reasons. In addition to the unemployed, 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 an average of 2 thousand per month 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. In September, there were 323 thousand unemployed, i.e. 3.5 percent of the labour force.

Unemployment and unemployment benefits
YearMonthUnemployment indicator (ILO)
(15-74 yrs, seasonally adjusted) (x 1,000)
WW benefits (15 yrs to pension entitlement age) (x 1,000)
2011January430284
2011February425280
2011March413270
2011April411261
2011May414256
2011June409252
2011July425254
2011August427256
2011September442252
2011October458253
2011November474258
2011December473270
2012January486292
2012February482299
2012March487296
2012April502292
2012May501291
2012June502291
2012July518298
2012August517304
2012September530304
2012October539310
2012November554322
2012December572340
2013January589369
2013February601377
2013March619380
2013April625380
2013May632378
2013June648382
2013July666395
2013August670399
2013September675400
2013October680408
2013November677419
2013December687438
2014January691460
2014February699460
2014March692454
2014April684443
2014May672436
2014June656431
2014July648437
2014August637430
2014September630420
2014October632419
2014November635425
2014December643441
2015January645458
2015February633455
2015March626443
2015April625427
2015May617416
2015June611410
2015July603420
2015August604420
2015September609417
2015October616421
2015November596427
2015December588446
2016January574465
2016February581469
2016March574470
2016April572461
2016May560448
2016June550438
2016July541432
2016August521427
2016September510424
2016October502420
2016November499410
2016December482412
2017January480419
2017February473416
2017March463415
2017April456401
2017May456386
2017June446372
2017July436364
2017August426362
2017September422351
2017October404343
2017November397337
2017December395330
2018January380335
2018February367330
2018March357327
2018April355314
2018May352301
2018June354288
2018July348279
2018August353278
2018September343274
2018October337269
2018November326267
2018December329263
2019January329279
2019February312274
2019March307268
2019April300257
2019May302251
2019June313243
2019July313234
2019August321237
2019September323233

UWV: number of unemployment benefits down again

After a slight rise in August, the number of unemployment (WW) benefits declined again as of September. At the end of September 2019, UWV was providing 233 thousand WW benefits. This is 3.2 thousand fewer than in August (-1.4 percent). One person may receive more than one benefit. At the end of September, 228 thousand persons were receiving one or more WW benefits.

UWV: sharp drop in long-term WW benefits

Relative to one year previously, the number of current WW benefits was down by 14.7 percent in September (-40.2 thousand). A sharp year-on-year decline was recorded in benefits which had been provided for one to two years (-23.9 percent) as well as two years or more (-51.8 percent). This is partly related to a legislative adjustment of WW benefit accrual and a gradual reduction of the maximum benefit duration, as laid down in the Dutch Work and Security Act (WWZ).

Number of unemployed on the rise

Unemployment stood at 300 thousand in April 2019 and subsequently rose to 323 thousand in September. On the one hand, rising employment is due to more people outside of the active labour force who start looking for work and are unable to start immediately. On the other hand, there are more job losses and unemployed people find a job less rapidly than previously. This means that unemployment inflow is increasing and unemployment outflow is declining.

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 (Q2 2019). The total unused labour potential in Q2 2019 comprised 1.0 million people. This was still 1.1 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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