Unemployment decline halting, also in the EU

In both the Netherlands and the rest of the EU, unemployment has stopped declining in recent months. As of May 2019, the EU-28 unemployment rate has been 6.3 percent while Dutch unemployment has stood at 3.5 percent since August. This puts the Netherlands among the six EU countries with the lowest levels of unemployment. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new figures.

In the spring of 2019, the Netherlands recorded the lowest unemployment rate since the onset of the economic crisis in 2008. From March through May, unemployment stood at 3.3 percent of the labour force. It started ascending in June, to reach 3.5 percent in August. Subsequently, unemployment remained unchanged. The same trend was visible across the EU-28. The EU unemployment rate has averaged 6.3 percent as of May 2019.
EU-28 unemployment figures are available up to and including October 2019 while Dutch unemployment figures are available over the period up to and including November 2019.

Unemployment, seasonally adjusted (15 to 74 yrs)
JaarmaandEU (28) average (% of the labour force)Netherlands (% of the labour force)
2008January6.93.8
2008February6.83.6
2008March6.83.6
2008April6.83.7
2008May6.93.7
2008June7.03.7
2008July7.03.6
2008August7.03.6
2008September7.13.6
2008October7.23.6
2008November7.43.6
2008December7.73.7
2009January8.03.7
2009February8.43.8
2009March8.63.9
2009April8.84.1
2009May8.94.2
2009June9.04.3
2009July9.14.5
2009August9.24.6
2009September9.34.7
2009October9.44.7
2009November9.44.9
2009December9.55.0
2010January9.65.1
2010February9.75.1
2010March9.75.1
2010April9.75.0
2010May9.75.0
2010June9.65.0
2010July9.65.0
2010August9.65.0
2010September9.65.0
2010October9.64.9
2010November9.64.9
2010December9.65.0
2011January9.54.9
2011February9.54.9
2011March9.54.8
2011April9.54.7
2011May9.54.8
2011June9.54.7
2011July9.64.9
2011August9.74.9
2011September9.85.1
2011October9.95.2
2011November10.05.4
2011December10.15.4
2012January10.15.5
2012February10.25.5
2012March10.35.5
2012April10.45.7
2012May10.45.7
2012June10.55.7
2012July10.55.9
2012August10.65.8
2012September10.66.0
2012October10.76.1
2012November10.86.2
2012December10.86.4
2013January10.96.6
2013February11.06.8
2013March11.06.9
2013April11.07.0
2013May11.07.1
2013June11.07.3
2013July10.97.5
2013August10.97.5
2013September10.87.6
2013October10.77.6
2013November10.77.6
2013December10.77.7
2014January10.67.8
2014February10.67.9
2014March10.57.8
2014April10.47.7
2014May10.37.6
2014June10.27.4
2014July10.27.3
2014August10.17.2
2014September10.07.1
2014October10.07.1
2014November10.07.1
2014December9.97.2
2015January9.87.2
2015February9.87.1
2015March9.77.0
2015April9.77.0
2015May9.66.9
2015June9.56.9
2015July9.36.8
2015August9.26.8
2015September9.26.8
2015October9.16.9
2015November9.06.7
2015December9.06.6
2016January8.96.5
2016February8.96.5
2016March8.86.4
2016April8.76.4
2016May8.76.3
2016June8.66.1
2016July8.56.0
2016August8.45.8
2016September8.45.7
2016October8.35.6
2016November8.35.6
2016December8.15.4
2017January8.15.3
2017February8.05.3
2017March7.95.1
2017April7.85.1
2017May7.85.1
2017June7.64.9
2017July7.64.8
2017August7.54.7
2017September7.54.7
2017October7.44.5
2017November7.34.4
2017December7.24.4
2018January7.24.2
2018February7.14.1
2018March7.03.9
2018April7.03.9
2018May6.93.9
2018June6.93.9
2018July6.83.8
2018August6.73.9
2018September6.73.7
2018October6.73.7
2018November6.63.5
2018December6.63.6
2019January6.53.6
2019February6.53.4
2019March6.43.3
2019April6.43.3
2019May6.33.3
2019June6.33.4
2019July6.33.4
2019August6.33.5
2019September6.33.5
2019October6.33.5
2019November3.5

Unemployment rates vary widely among the 28 countries of the European Union. The highest rates were recorded in Greece and Spain, at 16.8 and 14.2 percent of the labour force respectively. With 3.5 percent, the Netherlands was among the six EU countries with the lowest unemployment rates. Only Malta, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic had lower rates. In Hungary, unemployment was at the same level.

Unemployment in the EU-28, seasonally adjusted (15 to 74 yrs)
LandOctober 20191) (% of the labour force)May 2019 (% of the labour force)
Czech Republic2.22.2
Germany3.13.1
Poland3.23.2
Malta3.43.4
Hungary3.53.4
Netherlands3.53.3
United Kingdom3.73.8
Romania4.03.9
Bulgaria4.24.1
Estonia4.35.0
Slovenia4.34.3
Austria4.64.6
Ireland4.85.2
Denmark5.34.9
Luxembourg5.45.6
Belgium5.65.5
Slovakia5.65.8
Latvia6.16.4
European Union (28)6.36.3
Lithuania6.46.1
Portugal6.56.6
Croatia6.67.0
Sweden6.66.8
Finland6.76.7
Cyprus7.17.3
France8.58.5
Italy9.710.0
Spain14.214.1
Greece16.817.2
Source: CBS, Eurostat
1)Most recent figures for the United Kingdom, Hungary, Estonia and Greece relate to September 2019

Unemployment has declined in 12 of the 28 EU countries as of May. Eight countries have seen an increase while the percentage has remained the same in the remaining eight countries. Just as in the Netherlands, the rate has hardly changed in the other five countries with the lowest unemployment over the past six months. For example, the unemployment rate in Germany has stood at 3.1 percent since May, and in the Czech Republic (2.2 percent) as well, the decline in unemployment has come to a halt.

Unemployment is determined according to the unemployment definition of the International Labour Organization (ILO). An unemployed person is someone who does not have paid employment but who has been actively seeking work and is available to start work in the next few weeks. The unemployment rate is determined by comparing the number of unemployed with the labour force aged 15 to 74 years. The labour force comprises all people in work (all those in paid employment) and all unemployed.

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