There were 4.1 million people in November 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 4 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 November, there were 324 thousand unemployed. This means that 3.5 percent of the labour force were unemployed.
|Unemployment indicator (ILO)|
(15 to 74 yrs, seasonally adjusted)
|WW benefits (15 yrs to pension entitlement age)|
UWV: Number of unemployment benefits drops to 228 thousand
At the end of November 2019, UWV recorded 228 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits. This is 2.5 percent less than in the previous month. Year-on-year, the number of WW benefits was down by 14.6 percent. All sectors saw a year-on-year decline in November 2019. It was strongest in the banking and insurance sector (-29 percent), followed by construction (-25 percent) and by agriculture, greenery and fisheries (-24 percent).
UWV: Sharp drop in long-term benefits
Increasingly few people are receiving a WW benefit for two years or more. In November 2019, 6 percent of all current WW benefits had been issued for two or more years, against 12 percent one year previously. This decline is related to legislative changes in WW benefit accrual and the maximum duration of benefits.
Unemployment declining only among the over-45s
The unemployment rate has remained unchanged since September, albeit with some differences between the age groups. Among the over-45s, unemployment still declined, ending with a share of 2.5 percent in November. Among young people, it has risen again for some time: 6.2 percent of the young labour force were unemployed in April 2019. In November, this had gone up to 7.3 percent. Unemployment among 25 to 44-year-olds as well rose over this period, from 2.6 to 3.0 percent.
The three above-mentioned age groups are similar in size, however. In November, the number of unemployed over-45s stood at 102 thousand; there were 112 thousand unemployed in the age group 25 to 44 years, and 110 thousand in the youngest age group (under 25).
|15 to 24 yrs||25 to 44 yrs||45 to 74 yrs|
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 (Q3 2019). The total unused labour potential in Q3 2019 comprised nearly 1.0 million people, down by 120 thousand 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.