Unemployment declined in January

A builder applies insulation to the roof of a house.
© Hollandse Hoogte / Stijn Rademaker
In the period November through January, unemployment declined by an average of 9 thousand per month. This resulted in 354 thousand unemployed in January 2022, i.e. 3.6 percent of the labour force. The number of people aged 15 to 74 years in employment grew by 26 thousand per month on average over the same period, to 9.4 million. The largest increase was seen among young people. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new labour force figures. At the end of January, records at the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) showed 193 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits.

In January, 3.8 million people aged 15 to 74 years did not have paid work for a variety of reasons. In addition to the unemployed, 3.4 million people were not looking and/or immediately available for work recently; they are not counted towards the labour force. Their number decreased by an average of 3 thousand per month over the past three months.

 

Unemployment rate lower in January

In order to enable comparison of cyclical developments in the labour market across countries, the unemployment indicator of the International Labour Organization (ILO) is used as a measure. According to this indicator, the unemployed include 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. Between February and July 2020, the unemployment rate rose from 4.0 to 5.5 percent. This was followed by almost continuous decline, to 3.6 percent of the labour force in January this year. This is the lowest rate since 2003, the first year for which monthly figures are available.

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)
2012January595292
2012February586299
2012March593296
2012April618292
2012May609291
2012June609291
2012July623298
2012August620304
2012September634304
2012October644310
2012November655322
2012December676340
2013January692369
2013February707377
2013March728380
2013April734380
2013May747378
2013June766382
2013July782395
2013August783399
2013September783400
2013October782408
2013November772419
2013December779438
2014January786460
2014February800460
2014March794454
2014April787443
2014May775436
2014June757431
2014July746437
2014August738430
2014September733420
2014October738419
2014November742425
2014December753441
2015January760458
2015February747455
2015March745443
2015April743427
2015May732416
2015June725410
2015July708420
2015August708420
2015September712417
2015October722421
2015November703427
2015December695446
2016January680465
2016February688469
2016March680470
2016April679461
2016May668448
2016June656438
2016July648432
2016August628427
2016September617424
2016October609420
2016November607410
2016December590412
2017January588419
2017February582416
2017March571415
2017April563401
2017May564386
2017June555372
2017July544364
2017August534362
2017September529351
2017October511343
2017November504337
2017December503330
2018January487335
2018February474330
2018March465327
2018April463314
2018May460301
2018June463288
2018July458279
2018August463278
2018September451274
2018October444269
2018November433267
2018December437263
2019January437279
2019February419274
2019March416268
2019April409257
2019May411251
2019June423243
2019July424234
2019August432237
2019September432233
2019October432233
2019November434228
2019December409223
2020January390241
2020February383240
2020March388250
2020April427292
2020May439301
2020June513301
2020July532301
2020August533292
2020September519278
2020October509278
2020November485276
2020December476286
2021January448289
2021February450286
2021March439282
2021April427266
2021May419250
2021June405238
2021July393224
2021August406213
2021September399208
2021October382199
2021November359189
2021December369192
2022January354193
* The figures for January 2022 are provisional.

UWV: slightly more WW benefits in January

From December 2021 to January 2022, the number of WW benefits rose by almost 1.2 thousand, ending at nearly 193 thousand by the end of January. The after-effects of the restrictive COVID-19 measures are visible in the sectors culture and accommodation and food services, where an increase was seen of 7.3 and 5.7 percent, respectively. More benefits were recorded in construction as well (+5.4 percent), due to the seasonal sensitivity of this sector.

UWV: inflow exceeded outflow in January

In January 2022, more new WW benefits (25.6 thousand) were granted than current benefits were terminated (24.5 thousand). The number of new benefits was down by 36 percent year on year.

Sharp rise in net labour participation among young people

In the past three months, nearly 80 thousand people in employment were added to the active labour force. Of this group, 35 thousand were under the age of 25. As a result, in January 2022 the net labour participation rate among young people exceeded 74 percent (74.3) for the first time. This is higher than in January 2020, when the rate peaked at 73.6 percent just before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis.

Net labour participation rate (15 to 24 yrs)
   Net labour participation rate (15 to 24 yrs) (%)
2012January69.6
2012February69.1
2012March69.0
2012April69.1
2012May69.0
2012June68.7
2012July68.6
2012August69.0
2012September68.9
2012October69.0
2012November69.0
2012December68.9
2013January68.7
2013February68.4
2013March68.3
2013April68.5
2013May68.3
2013June68.1
2013July67.4
2013August67.4
2013September67.3
2013October67.8
2013November67.6
2013December67.2
2014January66.9
2014February66.4
2014March66.0
2014April66.1
2014May66.2
2014June66.2
2014July66.5
2014August66.4
2014September66.7
2014October67.0
2014November67.4
2014December67.4
2015January68.0
2015February68.4
2015March68.7
2015April68.9
2015May68.9
2015June69.0
2015July68.6
2015August68.6
2015September68.4
2015October68.3
2015November68.2
2015December68.0
2016January67.9
2016February68.2
2016March68.1
2016April68.6
2016May68.7
2016June68.5
2016July68.6
2016August68.8
2016September68.7
2016October68.7
2016November68.7
2016December68.7
2017January69.0
2017February68.8
2017March68.9
2017April69.0
2017May69.5
2017June69.8
2017July70.2
2017August70.2
2017September70.7
2017October70.8
2017November71.1
2017December71.0
2018January71.4
2018February71.2
2018March71.2
2018April71.3
2018May71.5
2018June71.3
2018July71.1
2018August71.2
2018September71.4
2018October71.8
2018November72.1
2018December72.5
2019January72.7
2019February72.8
2019March72.7
2019April73.1
2019May73.1
2019June72.9
2019July72.6
2019August72.5
2019September72.3
2019October72.7
2019November73.0
2019December73.6
2020January73.6
2020February73.5
2020March72.8
2020April68.1
2020May66.9
2020June68.2
2020July68.2
2020August68.3
2020September68.7
2020October70.3
2020November70.2
2020December69.8
2021January69.8
2021February69.9
2021March69.9
2021April70.2
2021May70.2
2021June71.9
2021July72.3
2021August72.7
2021September72.8
2021October73.1
2021November73.3
2021December73.7
2022January74.3

Unemployment declined 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 December, 354 thousand people were unemployed. This number stood at 382 thousand two months previously in October. Unemployment therefore declined by 28 thousand over this period (9 thousand per month on average). As shown in the above diagram, unemployment can decline because unemployed people find a job or because they withdraw from 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, there were more unemployed who found a job than employed who lost their job, as a result of which unemployment fell by 64 thousand on balance. The decline was mitigated by the fact that more people started seeking work without immediate result (from inactive labour force to unemployed) than stopped seeking and/or became unavailable (from unemployed to inactive labour force). On balance, there was an inflow of 35 thousand unemployed from the inactive labour force.

Development of unemployment during the coronavirus crisis

Unemployment rose rapidly due to the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis in March 2020. During the first phase of the crisis, April to July 2020 inclusive, unemployment grew mainly because more people in work lost their job and fewer unemployed found a job. It continued to grow in August and September 2020, mainly because people who were previously not looking or not available entered the labour market but did not find a job immediately. As of October 2020, unemployment fell almost continuously, mainly due to another sharp rise in the number of people who found work.

Unemployment development relative to 3 months previously and balance of employment inflow and outflow, seasonally adjusted*
   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)
2018January-24-6440
2018February-30-6939
2018March-38-7638
2018April-24-6844
2018May-14-6349
2018June-2-6059
2018July-5-5752
2018August3-5559
2018September-12-6048
2018October-14-5945
2018November-30-6434
2018December-14-5945
2019January-7-5750
2019February-14-5541
2019March-21-5636
2019April-28-5426
2019May-8-4940
2019June7-4349
2019July15-4157
2019August21-3960
2019September9-4655
2019October8-4452
2019November2-4648
2019December-23-5532
2020January-42-6321
2020February-51-7018
2020March-21-5433
2020April37632
2020May563224
2020June1258342
2020July1051491
2020August94-18112
2020September6-6267
2020October-23-5937
2020November-48-5911
2020December-43-529
2021January-61-600
2021February-35-5218
2021March-37-5214
2021April-21-4726
2021May-31-5121
2021June-34-5522
2021July-34-6025
2021August-13-5239
2021September-6-4337
2021October-11-4434
2021November-47-6519
2021December-30-6131
2022January-28-6435
* The figures for January 2022 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.

Due to the measures taken against the spread of the coronavirus, respondents could no longer be visited at home from mid-December onwards, and were therefore less likely to participate in the survey. The effect of this has been estimated based on models and therefore the accuracy of the December and January figures is slightly lower than normal.