Unemployment virtually unchanged

© Hollandse Hoogte / Peter Hilz
Between September and November 2019, the number of people in paid employment grew by 12 thousand per month on average and stood at 9.0 million in November. In the same period, unemployment rose by an average of 1 thousand per month to 324 thousand in November. Just as in October, 3.5 percent of the labour force aged 15 to 74 years were unemployed. 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 November, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) recorded 228 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits.

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.

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 November, there were 324 thousand unemployed. This means that 3.5 percent of the labour force were unemployed.

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
July313234
August321237
September323233
October323233
November324228

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).

Unemployment, seasonally adjusted (% of the labour force in each age group)
   15 to 24 yrs25 to 44 yrs45 to 74 yrs
2013januari12.55.75.3
februari12.55.85.5
maart12.66.05.7
april12.76.15.8
mei12.66.25.9
juni13.06.36.0
juli13.66.56.1
augustus13.56.66.2
september13.96.66.2
oktober13.86.66.3
november13.86.56.3
december13.76.76.5
2014januari13.56.86.6
februari13.86.96.6
maart13.66.86.7
april13.26.76.8
mei13.06.56.7
juni12.86.36.6
juli12.86.16.6
augustus12.46.06.5
september12.05.96.5
oktober12.06.06.5
november11.96.06.5
december11.86.06.7
2015januari11.76.16.7
februari11.06.16.7
maart10.85.96.7
april10.95.96.6
mei11.15.76.5
juni11.15.56.6
juli11.35.46.4
augustus11.25.46.4
september11.55.46.5
oktober11.65.46.6
november11.25.26.5
december11.25.16.4
2016januari11.24.96.2
februari11.35.06.2
maart11.44.96.1
april11.24.86.1
mei11.14.66.0
juni10.84.75.9
juli10.84.75.6
augustus10.64.55.3
september10.54.55.1
oktober10.54.35.1
november10.34.35.1
december10.24.14.9
2017januari9.84.14.8
februari9.74.04.9
maart9.63.84.8
april9.53.74.7
mei9.03.94.8
juni8.93.74.7
juli8.83.84.4
augustus8.93.74.1
september8.53.74.2
oktober7.93.54.1
november7.83.53.9
december8.03.34.0
2018januari7.43.23.9
februari7.23.03.8
maart7.02.93.8
april6.92.93.7
mei6.92.83.7
juni7.22.73.8
juli7.32.63.7
augustus7.72.63.6
september7.52.63.5
oktober7.22.63.3
november6.92.63.2
december6.62.73.3
2019januari6.52.73.3
februari6.42.63.0
maart6.42.62.9
april6.22.62.8
mei6.32.62.7
juni6.52.82.8
juli6.72.82.7
augustus6.92.92.7
september7.22.92.7
oktober7.32.92.6
november7.33.02.5

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.

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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