From July to September, the size of the Dutch labour force (the active and unemployed labour force combined) increased by 5 thousand people monthly on average. This brings the number of people on the labour market (9.3 million) to a level comparable to that of the first three months of 2020. There were 4.2 million people in September who did not have paid work for a variety of reasons. In addition to the unemployed, 3.8 million people were not looking and/or immediately available for work recently. These people are not counted towards the labour force. Their number decreased by 1 thousand per month on average over the past three months.
Unemployment declined in September
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. There were 413 thousand unemployed in September, equivalent to 4.4 percent of the labour force. In August, this was 4.6 percent (426 thousand). Between March and August, unemployment was still rising on a monthly basis.
|Year||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 unemployment figures for July, August and September are provisional.|
UWV: Again fewer unemployment benefits
The number of current unemployment (WW) benefits fell in September, just as in August. At the end of September, UWV provided 278 thousand WW benefits, representing a decline of more than 13 thousand on August (292 thousand). The number of benefits was down in almost every sector. The decline was mainly visible among young people aged 15 to 24 years (-17.6 percent).
UWV: Fewer new benefits
In September, 6.2 thousand new WW benefits were granted each week on average. This is a decline of 13.2 percent relative to August (7.1 thousand per week on average). Due to the coronavirus crisis, the inflow was substantially higher from March to July 2020 compared to 2019. This trend has not continued: in August and September, the average weekly inflow was only slightly higher than one year previously.
More people moving from unemployment to employment
The rise in both employment and unemployment is the result of underlying flows between the active, unemployed and inactive labour force. This is visualised in the diagram below.
In September, 413 thousand people were unemployed. The number stood at 404 thousand three months previously, in June. This means that unemployment rose by 9 thousand over this period (3 thousand per month on average). This was mainly because more people started seeking work (from inactive labour force to unemployed) than there were people who stopped seeking (from unemployed to inactive labour force). On balance, this resulted in unemployment rising by 44 thousand over the past three months.
There were more unemployed who found a job (from unemployed to employed) than employed who lost their job (from employed to unemployed). On balance, this resulted in unemployment declining by 36 thousand persons. For the first time since March 2020, this balance is negative again.
The number of people in work increased slightly as well between June and September, by 5 thousand. This was mainly due to the fact that the number of unemployed who found a job (from unemployed to active) was higher than the number of employed who lost their job (from active to unemployed).
Every month, CBS publishes figures on the labour force in accordance with international guidelines. The corresponding indicators, i.e. the active 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.