In November, 3.9 million people aged 15 to 74 years did not have paid work for a variety of reasons. In addition to the unemployed, 3.6 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 18 thousand per month over the past three months. The number of people who were previously not part of the labour force and who started working or looking for work was higher than the number of employed and unemployed who left the labour market.
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.
New measurement method shows wider gap between unemployed and unemployment benefits
From 2022 onwards, CBS will publish labour force figures on the basis of a new measurement method. This will identify more unemployed people (see box at the bottom of this news release) and the difference between the number of unemployed and the number of WW benefits, as published by UWV, will increase.
|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 and November are provisional.|
UWV: fewer WW benefits for ten months in a row
In November, the number of WW benefits fell by 9.9 thousand. This is a 5-percent decrease on the previous month. As a result, the number of WW benefits stood at 189.2 thousand at the end of November. Compared to November 2020, it was down by 87.1 thousand (-31.5 percent).
UWV: over 45 thousand long-term WW benefits
As of the end of November, UWV counted 45.2 thousand WW benefits that had been granted for a period of one year or more. This is equivalent to 24 percent of all WW benefits. The number of long-term WW benefits fell by 2 percent relative to the end of October 2021. The number of benefits provided for less than one year dropped more sharply, by 6 percent.
Unemployment fell further over the past three months
The further 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 November, 251 thousand people were unemployed. This number stood at 301 thousand three months previously, in August. This means that unemployment declined by 50 thousand over this period (17 thousand per month on average). As shown in the above diagram, unemployment may decline when unemployed find work or when they leave the labour market. Conversely, there can be an inflow into unemployment from the active labour force and from the inactive labour force.
In the past three months, unemployment fell not only because there were more unemployed who found a job than employed who lost their job. On balance, this resulted in unemployment declining by 42 thousand. Unemployment also declined because more people stopped seeking work and/or were not available (from unemployed to inactive labour force) than started seeking work with no direct result (from inactive labour force to unemployed). Unemployment consequently fell by 7 thousand on balance over the past three months.
Development of unemployment during the coronavirus crisis
Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis in March 2020, unemployment rose rapidly. In the previous two years, unemployment had declined, mainly due to outflow to the active labour force (i.e. the net inflow to unemployment was negative), while at the same time it rose due to the inflow from the inactive labour force (i.e. the net inflow to unemployment was positive). During the first phase of the coronavirus crisis, unemployment increased from both sides. From November 2020 to March 2021 inclusive, the opposite was the case (negative net inflow from both sides) and unemployment fell rapidly again. The inflow from the inactive labour force was positive again in the months July through October, which slowed the fall in unemployment to some extent. In November, the net inflow from the inactive labour force was negative, which caused the unemployment rate to fall more rapidly again.
|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)|
|*The figures for October and November are provisional.|