In April, 3.7 million people aged 15 to 74 years did not have paid work for a variety of reasons. In addition to the unemployed, 3.3 million people were not looking and/or immediately available for work recently; they are not counted towards the labour force. Their number has dropped by an average 20 thousand per month over the past three months, to the lowest level since June 2009. This mainly concerns people who are retired or unable to work due to illness or disability.
Unemployment rate declined further in April
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 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 3.2 percent of the labour force in April this year. It is the lowest rate in the series with monthly figures as of 2003.
|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 April
The number of current unemployment (WW) benefits has decreased further. At the end of April 2022, the UWV paid 175 thousand WW benefits. This is 9.2 thousand fewer than in the previous month (-5.0 percent). Compared to April last year, the number of benefits was 34.4 percent lower. In April 2022, 24.9 thousand WW benefits were terminated and 15.7 thousand new benefits were granted.
UWV: fewer WW benefits across all sectors
In April, the number of current WW benefits declined across all sectors compared to the previous month. By far the largest decrease was seen in accommodation, food and catering services (-13.5 percent). The number of WW benefits also declined considerably in culture (-7.2 percent), temporary employment (-6.7 percent) and agriculture (-6.5 percent).
Over-45s in particular not active on the labour market
Of the 3.3 million people not included in the labour force, the majority were aged 45 to 74. Since the start of the series with monthly figures in 2003, their number has fluctuated between 2.5 million and 2.7 million. At slightly over 2.5 million, it has never been so low as in the past month. The most frequently cited reason for these over-45s not to work is retirement or old age, followed by illness or disability. The main reason for young people not to work is being enrolled in education or training. Among 25 to 44-year-olds, it is often because of illness or disability, or care for the family.
|Not available and not looking due to care for the family/household responsibilities (x 1,000)||Not available and not looking due to education/training (x 1,000)||Not available and not looking due to pension/old age (x 1,000)||Not available and not looking due to illness/disability (x 1,000)||Not available and not looking due to other reasons (x 1,000)||Semi-unemployed (not looking, available; looking, not available) (x 1,000)|
|15 to 24 yrs||3||287||0||25||7||107|
|25 to 44 yrs||99||57||1||193||28||74|
|45 to 74 yrs||178||12||1597||573||46||121|
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 April, 316 thousand people were unemployed. This number stood at 354 thousand three months previously, in December. This means that unemployment declined by 38 thousand over this period (13 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 60 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 22 thousand unemployed from the inactive labour force.
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.