Unemployment further up in July

More recent figures are available on this topic. View the latest figures here.
© ANP / Harold Versteeg
In July 2022, unemployment rose further to 353 thousand. This is 3.6 percent of the labour force. From May through July, unemployment rose by an average of 12 thousand per month. This was due on the one hand to a higher number of job losses, on the other hand to an increasing number of people in the inactive labour force seeking or continuing to seek a job. Over this three-month period, the employed labour force (aged 15 to 74 years) grew by 6 thousand per month on average. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new labour force figures. At the end of July, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) records included 157 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits.

In July, 3.7 million people aged 15 to 74 years did not have paid work for a variety of reasons. Aside from the unemployed, 3.3 million people were not looking, and/or not immediately available for work; they are not counted towards the labour force. This mainly concerns people who are retired or unable to work due to illness or disability. Their number has dropped by an average 6 thousand per month over the past three months, to the lowest level since June 2009.

Unemployment up in July

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. In April 2022, unemployment came out at 3.2 percent, the lowest rate in the series with monthly figures as of 2003. Unemployment subsequently increased to 3.6 percent in July, i.e. back to the level of the beginning of this year.

Unemployment and WW unemployment benefits
   Unemployment indicator (ILO) (15-74 yrs, seasonally adjusted) (x 1,000)WW unemployment benefits (15 yrs up to state pension age) (x 1,000)
2012Jan 595292
2012Feb 586299
2012Jun 609291
2012Jul 623298
2012Aug 620304
2012Oct 644310
2012Dec 676340
2013Jan 692369
2013Feb 707377
2013Jun 766382
2013Jul 782395
2013Aug 783399
2013Oct 782408
2013Dec 779438
2014Jan 786460
2014Feb 800460
2014Jun 757431
2014Jul 746437
2014Aug 738430
2014Oct 738419
2014Dec 753441
2015Jan 760458
2015Feb 747455
2015Jun 725410
2015Jul 708420
2015Aug 708420
2015Oct 722421
2015Dec 695446
2016Jan 680465
2016Feb 688469
2016Jun 656438
2016Jul 648432
2016Aug 628427
2016Oct 609420
2016Dec 590412
2017Jan 588419
2017Feb 582416
2017Jun 555372
2017Jul 544364
2017Aug 534362
2017Oct 511343
2017Dec 503330
2018Jan 487335
2018Feb 474330
2018Jun 463288
2018Jul 458279
2018Aug 463278
2018Oct 444269
2018Dec 437263
2019Jan 437279
2019Feb 419274
2019Jun 423243
2019Jul 424234
2019Aug 432237
2019Oct 432233
2019Dec 409223
2020Jan 390241
2020Feb 383240
2020Jun 513301
2020Jul 532301
2020Aug 533292
2020Oct 509278
2020Dec 476286
2021Jan 448289
2021Feb 450286
2021Jun 405238
2021Jul 393224
2021Aug 406213
2021Oct 382199
2021Dec 369192
2022Jan 354193
2022Feb 336188
2022Jun 339161
2022Jul 353157

UWV: Number of benefits further down in July

At the end of July 2022, UWV was providing 157 thousand WW benefits. This is 4 thousand fewer than in the previous month (-2.5 percent). Relative to July 2021, the number of WW benefits was down by 68 thousand (-30.1 percent). In July 2022, there were 18 thousand new WW benefits; 22 thousand were terminated.

UWV: Seasonal rise in benefits for education workers

Across virtually all sectors, the number of current WW benefits declined in July. However, it rose instead in the education sector: by 9.8 percent. This is a usual development for the summer months and is related to the expiration of temporary employment contracts at the end of the school year. The largest decrease in WW benefits occurred in the sectors accommodation and food services (-9.0 percent) and construction (-8.4 percent).

More job losses, more people outside the labour force seeking work

The rise in unemployment (by 37 thousand) 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.

The diagram shows that unemployment may increase not only because people in work lose their jobs, but also because people enter the labour force who were not previously part of it. As soon as they start seeking work and are available, they also become part of the unemployed.
The inflow from the inactive labour force is usually the most important reason for unemployment growth. This was also the case in the previous months, but in June and July, the inflow from the employed labour force increased, while the reverse flow from unemployed to employed labour force became slightly smaller. On balance, this resulted in the smallest outflow from unemployment to employment of this year (20 thousand), see the chart below.

Outflow from unemployment to employment (previous three months' balance)
Jaar Month Outflow from unemployment to employment (balance) (x 1,000)
2020Jan 63
2020Feb 70
2020Mar 54
2020Apr -6
2020May -32
2020Jun -83
2020Jul -14
2020Aug 18
2020Sep 62
2020Oct 59
2020Nov 59
2020Dec 52
2021Jan 60
2021Feb 52
2021Mar 52
2021Apr 47
2021May 51
2021Jun 55
2021Jul 60
2021Aug 52
2021Sep 43
2021Oct 44
2021Nov 65
2021Dec 61
2022Jan 64
2022Feb 62
2022Mar 64
2022Apr 60
2022May 59
2022Jun 39
2022Jul 20

The balance of inflow from the inactive labour force to unemployed labour force (57 thousand) was higher in May, June and July compared to the preceding months. This resulted in unemployment growth of 37 thousand since April, or 12 thousand per month on average. Due to the smaller outflow into employment and the larger inflow from the inactive labour force, unemployment rose from 316 thousand in April to 353 thousand in July.

Inflow to unemployment by the inactive labour force (previous three months' balance)
Year Month Inflow to unemployment by the inactive labour force (previous three months' balance) (x 1,000)
2020Jan 21
2020Feb 18
2020Mar 33
2020Apr 32
2020May 24
2020Jun 42
2020Jul 91
2020Aug 112
2020Sep 67
2020Oct 37
2020Nov 11
2020Dec 9
2021Jan 0
2021Feb 18
2021Mar 14
2021Apr 26
2021May 21
2021Jun 22
2021Jul 25
2021Aug 39
2021Sep 37
2021Oct 34
2021Nov 19
2021Dec 31
2022Jan 35
2022Feb 38
2022Mar 23
2022Apr 22
2022May 46
2022Jun 50
2022Jul 57

Every month, CBS publishes figures on the Dutch 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 are not comparable one-to-one with the labour force indicators.