160 thousand fewer employed in April

© Hollandse Hoogte / Luuk van der Lee Fotografie
In April, the number of people in paid employment fell by 160 thousand to 8.9 million. A decline of this magnitude within one month has not occurred since compilation of monthly figures started (2003). The employment decline was largest among young people at over 100 thousand. Unemployment stood at 314 thousand in April, representing an increase of 41 thousand including 25 thousand young people. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new figures.

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* and unemployment benefits
   Unemployment indicator (ILO)
(15 to 74 yrs, seasonally adjusted) (x 1,000)
WW benefits (15 yrs to pension entitlement age) (x 1,000)
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
2019October323233
2019November324228
2019December302223
2020January284241
2020February274240
2020March273250
2020April*314292
* 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.

Persons changing labour position relative to three months previously*
   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)
2019Apr6719898200
2019May7019795204
2019Jun7320192218
2019Jul7019688208
2019Aug6919582202
2019Sep6720388206
2019Oct6819886221
2019Nov6920289219
2019Dec6220192223
2020Jan5920097226
2020Feb56203102220
2020Mar6122294201
2020Apr10426873119
* 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.

 

Related items