At the end of April, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) recorded 292 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits, an increase of 42 thousand on the previous month.
|Unemployment indicator (ILO)|
(15 to 74 yrs, seasonally adjusted) (x 1,000)
|WW benefits (15 yrs to pension entitlement age) (x 1,000)|
|* The results over April are provisional.|
Unemployment is determined on the basis of samples. In order to minimise fluctuations as a result of the sample nature, CBS generally uses the trend over the previous three months. Because the recent measures to combat the spread of coronavirus have a major impact on the labour market, the developments in the past month are described here in further detail. Contrary to common practice, the figures are provisional and may be adjusted in the coming months.
Steepest rise in unemployment rate since 2003
There were 314 thousand unemployed in April, equivalent to 3.4 percent of the labour force (versus 2.9 percent in March). This is the steepest rise in unemployment within one month since 2003, the first year for which monthly figures are available. The decline in the number of employed only partially leads to more unemployment. Those out of work include people who do not belong to the labour force, because they are neither looking nor available for work. The non-labour force expanded by 124 thousand over the past month.
A part of the non-labour force concerns the so-called other unused labour potential. It includes people without paid employment who are available but have not looked for work, and those who have looked but are not available. In this way, a less strict demarcation of the labour supply is used to reflect the total unused potential among those not in work. These groups are only reported on every quarter in terms of size and composition.
UWV: Sharp increase in WW benefits in April
In April, the number of current WW benefits increased substantially, to 292 thousand. This is 42 thousand more than in March (+16.7 percent). Relative to April 2019, the number was up by 13.5 percent.
UWV: Considerably more new WW benefits
In April, UWV recorded nearly 74 thousand new WW benefits. This is significantly more than in March, when there were 38 thousand new benefits. The month of April did have one more reporting week than March. Looking at the average weekly number of new WW benefits, this number rose from 9.4 thousand per week in March to 14.7 thousand per week in April.
In April, the number of new benefits increased across all sectors. Sectors showing the largest increase include the cleaning sector, temp agencies, retail trade, culture, accommodation and food services and catering services. Furthermore, an increase was also seen across all age groups, the largest being among 15 to 24-year-olds. In April, the average number of new WW benefits per week among this age group was 75 percent higher than in the previous month.
Record decline in employment due to more job losses and fewer job gains
The lower number of employed and the higher number of unemployed are the result of underlying flows between the employed, unemployed and non-labour force. The below chart shows the changes between the three labour positions. Not only were there more people who lost their job in April, but there were also fewer people who started a new job.
The number of people who started working was mainly down among those who previously did not belong to the labour force. This number dropped from 201 thousand in March to 119 thousand in April. For example, these are young people who started a (part-time) job while not being unemployed previously, i.e. they were not looking for work three months previously. The number of job gains among people who were unemployed three months previously went down as well, from 94 thousand in March to 73 thousand in April.
Aside from the lower number of job gains, there was an almost equal higher number of job losses in April. The number of people losing their jobs and leaving the labour market increased from 222 to 268 thousand. This means that they were not looking and/or available for work, after they had gone out of employment. In addition, 61 thousand people became unemployed in March who were still working three months previously. This number increased as well and stood at 104 thousand in April.
|From employment to unemployment (x 1,000)||From employment to non-labour force (x 1,000)||From unemployment to employment (x 1,000)||From non-labour force to employment (x 1,000)|
|* The results over April are provisional.|
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.