From August to October, the size of the Dutch labour force (the active and unemployed labour force combined) increased by 9 thousand people monthly on average. This is mainly due to a sharp increase in the number of employed in October. There were 4.2 million people in October 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 an average of 5 thousand per month over the past three months.
Unemployment declined further in October
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 406 thousand unemployed in October, equivalent to 4.3 percent of the labour force. In September, this was 4.4 percent (413 thousand). Between March and August, unemployment was still rising on a monthly basis, from 273 thousand to 426 thousand.
|Jaar||Maand||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 October are provisional.|
UWV: Number of current unemployment benefits the same in October
After the number of current unemployment (WW) benefits had fallen for two months in a row, it stabilised in October. Just as in September, UWV provided 278 thousand WW benefits at the end of October. Year-on-year, the number of WW benefits was up by 19.2 percent. The largest year-on-year increase was seen among occupations in the service sector and in transport and logistics.
UWV: More new WW benefits, mainly in accommodation and food services
In October, 8.5 thousand new WW benefits were granted each week on average. This represents an increase of 37 percent on the previous month. The sharpest rise was recorded in accommodation and food services. Because an average of 8.5 thousand WW benefits per week were also terminated, the total number of benefits remained the same.
Decline in unemployment
The decline in unemployment over the past three months is the result of underlying flows between the active, unemployed and inactive labour force. This is visualised in the diagram below.
In October, 406 thousand people were unemployed. This number stood at 419 thousand three months previously, in July. This means that unemployment declined by 13 thousand over this period (4 thousand per month on average). This was mainly because there were more people who found work (from unemployed to employed) than became unemployed because they were out of work (from employed to unemployed). On balance, this resulted in unemployment declining by 30 thousand over the past three months.
On the other hand, there were more people who started seeking work (from inactive labour force to unemployed) than unemployed who stopped seeking (from unemployed to inactive labour force). On balance, this resulted in unemployment increasing by 17 thousand persons.
This means that the unemployed labour force may grow as a result of either more people in work or out of work. In the months of July, August and September, unemployment increased mainly due to a growing number out of work. This group was much larger than in October (67 thousand, 88 thousand and 44 thousand respectively), because considerably more people started seeking work in this period. In addition, the unemployed labour force still grew in July and August as more people lost their job. This is no longer the case as of September.
At the start of the coronavirus crisis, the number of people in work fell sharply, among young people in particular. Over the past few months, job losses have been less pronounced and the influx from the inactive labour force, especially among young people, has returned to pre-crisis levels, driving employment up again.
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.