More employed and fewer unemployed in March

© CBS / Alrik Swagerman
Over the past three months, the number of unemployed has declined by 14 thousand per month on average. As a result, it stood at 327 thousand in March 2022, i.e. 3.3 percent of the labour force. In the same period, the number of people in work aged 15 to 74 years grew by 37 thousand per month on average, to 9.5 million. The increase was relatively strong among young people. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new labour force figures. The Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) registered 184 thousand unemployment (WW) benefits as of the end of March.

In March, 3.7 million people between the ages of 15 and 75 did not have paid work for a variety of reasons. In addition to the unemployed, 3.4 million people were either not looking and/or not immediately available for work; they are not counted towards the labour force. Their number has dropped by an average of 22 thousand per month over the past three months.

Unemployment rate further down in March

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 are those who are not in paid work but who have been looking recently and are immediately available. This figure refers to the population aged 15 to 74 years. Between February and July 2020, i.e. during the initial phase of the coronavirus crisis, the unemployment rate in the Netherlands rose from 4.0 to 5.5 percent. This was followed by almost continuous decline, to 3.3 percent of the labour force as of March this year. It is the lowest rate in the series with monthly figures since 2003.

Unemployment and unemployment (WW) 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
2012March 593296
2012April618292
2012May609291
2012June609291
2012July623298
2012August 620304
2012September634304
2012October644310
2012November655322
2012December676340
2013January692369
2013February707377
2013March 728380
2013April734380
2013May747378
2013June766382
2013July782395
2013August 783399
2013September783400
2013October782408
2013November772419
2013December779438
2014January786460
2014February800460
2014March 794454
2014April787443
2014May775436
2014June757431
2014July746437
2014August 738430
2014September733420
2014October738419
2014November742425
2014December753441
2015January760458
2015February747455
2015March 745443
2015April743427
2015May732416
2015June725410
2015July708420
2015August 708420
2015September712417
2015October722421
2015November703427
2015December695446
2016January680465
2016February688469
2016March 680470
2016April679461
2016May668448
2016June656438
2016July648432
2016August 628427
2016September617424
2016October609420
2016November607410
2016December590412
2017January588419
2017February582416
2017March 571415
2017April563401
2017May564386
2017June555372
2017July544364
2017August 534362
2017September529351
2017October511343
2017November504337
2017December503330
2018January487335
2018February474330
2018March 465327
2018April463314
2018May460301
2018June463288
2018July458279
2018August 463278
2018September451274
2018October444269
2018November433267
2018December437263
2019January437279
2019February419274
2019March 416268
2019April409257
2019May411251
2019June423243
2019July424234
2019August 432237
2019September432233
2019October432233
2019November434228
2019December409223
2020January390241
2020February383240
2020March 388250
2020April427292
2020May439301
2020June513301
2020July532301
2020August 533292
2020September519278
2020October509278
2020November485276
2020December476286
2021January448289
2021February450286
2021March 439282
2021April427266
2021May419250
2021June405238
2021July393224
2021August 406213
2021September399208
2021October382199
2021November359189
2021December369192
2022January354193
2022February336188
2022March 327184

UWV: number of WW benefits declined further in March

At the end of March 2022, UWV was issuing 184 thousand unemployment (WW) benefits. This is 3.6 thousand or 1.9 percent fewer than at the end of February. Relative to March 2021, the number of current WW benefits fell by 98 thousand or 34.8 percent year on year.

Sharpest drops in accommodation and food services, agriculture

Relative to the previous month, the accommodation and food services sector showed the largest decrease in the number of WW benefits: -7.1 percent. The same sector already saw a 4.0-percent decrease in February. COVID-related contact restriction measures were lifted that month, contributing to the decrease.

In the agricultural sector, the number of WW benefits continued to decline as well: by 5.6 percent. This is also shown in the number of WW benefits for agricultural occupations, which declined by 9.1 percent in March 2022. The season plays an important role here.

Sharply rising youth labour participation

In March, there were altogether 9.5 million people in work. This is 110 thousand more than three months previously at the end of December. A relatively large share of these 110 thousand, namely 41 thousand, were people under 25. This caused net labour participation among young people to rise to 75.6 percent in March. This was still 73.7 percent In December. Net labour participation also rose among 25 to 44-year-olds and the over-45s in the period December – March, albeit more modestly (by 0.5 percentage point for both groups).

Net labour participation rate
;;15-24 yrs;25-44 yrs;45-74 yrs 2017;January;69;84,1;56,7 ;February;68,8;84,1;56,6 ;March;68,9;84,4;56,7 ;April;69;84,4;56,7 ;May;69,5;84,3;56,7 ;June;69,8;84,3;56,8 ;July;70,2;84,3;57,1 ;August;70,2;84,4;57,2 ;September;70,7;84,3;57,3 ;October;70,8;84,3;57,3 ;November;71,1;84,2;57,4 ;December;71;84,3;57,3 2018;January;71,4;84,6;57,4 ;February;71,2;84,7;57,5 ;March;71,2;84,8;57,8 ;April;71,3;84,8;57,9 ;May;71,5;85,2;57,9 ;June;71,3;85,5;57,9 ;July;71,1;85,7;58 ;August;71,2;86;58,2 ;September;71,4;86,1;58,3 ;October;71,8;85,9;58,4 ;November;72,1;86,2;58,6 ;December;72,5;86;58,5 2019;January;72,7;86,1;58,7 ;February;72,8;86,1;58,8 ;March;72,7;86,2;58,8 ;April;73,1;86;58,9 ;May;73,1;86;58,9 ;June;72,9;86;59,1 ;July;72,6;86;59,2 ;August;72,5;85,9;59,2 ;September;72,3;86;59,3 ;October;72,7;85,9;59,5 ;November;73;85,8;59,4 ;December;73,6;85,9;59,5 2020;January;73,6;86,2;59,7 ;February;73,5;86,2;59,7 ;March;72,8;86,1;59,5 ;April;68,1;85,8;58,9 ;May;66,9;85,6;59,2 ;June;68,2;85,3;59,3 ;July;68,2;85,3;59,3 ;August;68,3;85,4;59,3 ;September;68,7;85,5;59 ;October;70,3;85,7;59 ;November;70,2;85,8;59,3 ;December;69,8;85,9;59,4 2021;January;69,8;85,9;59,4 ;February;69,9;86,1;59,5 ;March;69,9;86;59,2 ;April;70,2;86,1;59,2 ;May;70,2;86,1;59,3 ;June;71,9;86,4;59,6 ;July;72,3;86,5;59,7 ;August;72,7;86,4;59,9 ;September;72,8;86,6;60 ;October;73,1;86,9;60,2 ;November;73,3;87;60,3 ;December;73,7;86,7;60,4 2022;January;74,3;86,9;60,5 ;February;74,8;87;60,5 ;March;75,6;87,2;60,9   15-24 yrs (%)25-44 yrs (%)45-74 yrs (%)
2017January6984.156.7
2017February68.884.156.6
2017March68.984.456.7
2017April6984.456.7
2017May69.584.356.7
2017June69.884.356.8
2017July70.284.357.1
2017August70.284.457.2
2017September70.784.357.3
2017October70.884.357.3
2017November71.184.257.4
2017December7184.357.3
2018January71.484.657.4
2018February71.284.757.5
2018March71.284.857.8
2018April71.384.857.9
2018May71.585.257.9
2018June71.385.557.9
2018July71.185.758
2018August71.28658.2
2018September71.486.158.3
2018October71.885.958.4
2018November72.186.258.6
2018December72.58658.5
2019January72.786.158.7
2019February72.886.158.8
2019March72.786.258.8
2019April73.18658.9
2019May73.18658.9
2019June72.98659.1
2019July72.68659.2
2019August72.585.959.2
2019September72.38659.3
2019October72.785.959.5
2019November7385.859.4
2019December73.685.959.5
2020January73.686.259.7
2020February73.586.259.7
2020March72.886.159.5
2020April68.185.858.9
2020May66.985.659.2
2020June68.285.359.3
2020July68.285.359.3
2020August68.385.459.3
2020September68.785.559
2020October70.385.759
2020November70.285.859.3
2020December69.885.959.4
2021January69.885.959.4
2021February69.986.159.5
2021March69.98659.2
2021April70.286.159.2
2021May70.286.159.3
2021June71.986.459.6
2021July72.386.559.7
2021August72.786.459.9
2021September72.886.660
2021October73.186.960.2
2021November73.38760.3
2021December73.786.760.4
2022January74.386.960.5
2022February74.88760.5
2022March75.687.260.9

Unemployment declined over past three months

The continued unemployment decline over the past three months is related to underlying flows between the active, unemployed and inactive labour force. This is visualised in the diagram below.



In March, 327 thousand people were unemployed. The number stood at 369 thousand three months previously (December). This represents an unemployment decline by 42 thousand over the 3-month period (on average 14 thousand per month). As shown in the above diagram, unemployment can decline because unemployed people either find a job or withdraw from the labour market. On the other hand, there is an inflow into unemployment from the active labour force and from the inactive labour force.

In the past three months, more unemployed people found a job than employed people lost their job, resulting in an unemployment decline by 64 thousand on balance. The decline was diminished due to 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 23 thousand unemployed from the inactive labour force.

Footnote

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.