In June, 4.0 million people aged 15 to 74 years 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 12 thousand per month over the past three months. Young people in particular were more active on the labour market again in June.
Unemployment rate further down in June
In order to enable comparison of cyclical movements in the labour market between countries, the unemployment indicator of the International Labour Organization (ILO) is taken as a measure. According to this indicator, the ‘unemployed’ includes all persons who do not have paid work but who have been looking recently and who are immediately available. This covers the population aged 15 to 74 years. There were 297 thousand unemployed in June, equivalent to 3.2 percent of the labour force. Between March and August 2020, the unemployment rate rose from 2.9 to 4.6 percent. After that, it declined almost continuously.
|Unemployment indicator (ILO)|
(15 to 74 yrs, seasonally adjusted) (x 1,000)
|WW benefits (15 yrs to pension entitlement age) (x 1,000)|
UWV: fewer WW benefits in June than before the coronavirus crisis
At the end of June 2021, UWV provided 238 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits. This is 11.3 thousand fewer than in the previous month (-4.5 percent). This is the fifth month in a row that the number of WW benefits has dropped. In June, more WW benefits were terminated (35.8 thousand) than started (24.5 thousand). Compared to the end of June last year, the number of current WW benefits was down by 20.7 percent. For the first time, the number of WW benefits was lower than before the start of the coronavirus crisis. In February 2020, UWV provided more than 240 thousand WW benefits.
UWV: substantially fewer WW benefits among young people
At the end of June 2021, the number of WW benefits paid to young people up to the age of 27 was 13.9 percent lower than one month previously. Compared to the end of June 2020, the number of current WW benefits in this age group was down by 61.1 percent.
Labour participation at pre-crisis level
In June, the number of people in employment stood at 9,065 thousand. This means that the active labour force was at virtually the same level as just before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis. In February 2020, the number of employed was 9,057 thousand.
At 69.1 percent, the net labour participation rate (the percentage of the employed labour force in the population) in June 2021 was the same as it was in March 2020. In June, the number of young people in work rose particularly strongly, but net labour participation in this group has not yet fully returned to the level it was at the beginning of last year. In January 2020, the net labour participation rate stood at 66.1 percent, against 63.9 percent in June 2021.
Unemployment declined over the past three months
The decline in the number of unemployed 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 June, 297 thousand people were unemployed. This number stood at 326 thousand three months previously, in March. Unemployment declined by 29 thousand over this period (10 thousand per month on average). As shown in the above diagram, unemployment can decline when there are more unemployed who find work than employed who lose their job and become unemployed. However, unemployment can also decline when there are more unemployed who stop seeking work than people who come from the inactive labour force and start seeking work. In the past three months, unemployment fell only because of the former: there were more unemployed who found a job than employed who lost their job. The flows between the unemployed labour force and the inactive labour force were virtually in balance.
|Unemployment development (x 1,000)||Net inflow, from employed to unemployed (x 1,000)||Net inflow, from inactive labour force to unemployed (x 1,000)|
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.