Unemployment further down in December

© ANP / Berlinda van Dam
In December, 352 thousand people were unemployed. From September through November, unemployment declined by an average of 10 thousand per month. The employed labour force (15 to 74 years) grew by an average of 45 thousand per month. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new labour force figures. At the end of December, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) recorded 149 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits.

In December, 3.6 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 immediately available for work; they are not counted towards the labour force. These people are not counted towards the labour force. These are mainly retirees and people unable to work due to illness or disability. This inactive labour force has dropped by an average of 19 thousand per month over the past three months.

Unemployment rate December down to 3.5%

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. It subsequently increased to 3.8 percent in August, but decreased after that. In December 2022, there were 352 thousand unemployed, equivalent to 3.5 percent of the labour force.

Unemployment and WW unemployment benefits
   Unemployment indicator (ILO) (15 to 74 yrs, seasonally adjusted) (x 1,000)WW unemployment benefits (15 yrs up to state pension age) (x 1,000)
2012January 595292
2012February586299
2012March593296
2012April618292
2012May609291
2012June609291
2012July 623298
2012August620304
2012September634304
2012October644310
2012November655322
2012December676340
2013January 692369
2013February707377
2013March728380
2013April734380
2013May747378
2013June766382
2013July 782395
2013August783399
2013September783400
2013October782408
2013November772419
2013December779438
2014January 786460
2014February800460
2014March794454
2014April787443
2014May775436
2014June757431
2014July 746437
2014August738430
2014September733420
2014October738419
2014November742425
2014December753441
2015January 760458
2015February747455
2015March745443
2015April743427
2015May732416
2015June725410
2015July 708420
2015August708420
2015September712417
2015October722421
2015November703427
2015December695446
2016January 680465
2016February688469
2016March680470
2016April679461
2016May668448
2016June656438
2016July 648432
2016August628427
2016September617424
2016October609420
2016November607410
2016December590412
2017January 588419
2017February582416
2017March571415
2017April563401
2017May564386
2017June555372
2017July 544364
2017August534362
2017September529351
2017October511343
2017November504337
2017December503330
2018January 487335
2018February474330
2018March465327
2018April463314
2018May460301
2018June463288
2018July 458279
2018August463278
2018September451274
2018October444269
2018November433267
2018December437263
2019January 437279
2019February419274
2019March416268
2019April409257
2019May411251
2019June423243
2019July 424234
2019August432237
2019September432233
2019October432233
2019November434228
2019December409223
2020January 390241
2020February383240
2020March388250
2020April427292
2020May439301
2020June513301
2020July 532301
2020August533292
2020September519278
2020October509278
2020November485276
2020December476286
2021January 448289
2021February450286
2021March439282
2021April427266
2021May419250
2021June405238
2021July 393224
2021August406213
2021September399208
2021October382199
2021November359189
2021December369192
2022January 354193
2022February336188
2022March327184
2022April316175
2022May323165
2022June339161
2022July 353157
2022August378152
2022September382152
2022October365150
2022November364145
2022December352149

UWV: More WW benefits in December

From November to December 2022, the number of WW benefits increased by 4.3 thousand, ending at 149.2 thousand by the end of December. An increase in the number of WW benefits during the winter months is an annually recurring seasonal pattern. Relative to one year previously, the number of current WW benefits was down by 42.6 thousand (-22.2 percent).

UWV: More WW benefits in temporary employment, agriculture and construction sectors

Various seasonal sectors saw an increase in the number of unemployment (WW) benefits over December. In agriculture for instance, the number rose by 20.8 percent, in construction by 31.0 percent, and among temporary employment agencies by 10.8 percent. In all these sectors, the number of unemployment (WW) benefits at the end of 2022 was still below the level of one year previously.

Increase in labour participation highest among young people

In December, the unemployment rate was slightly lower at 3.5 in December than at the start of 2022 (3.6 percent in January). In the same period, net labour participation rose from 71.5 to 72.9 percent. This means that, in December, 72.9 percent of the population aged 15 to 74 years had paid work. Labour participation rose across all age groups, but most significantly among young people. More young men in particular had paid work.

Net labour participation rate
YearMonth15 to 74 yrs (%)15 to 24 yrs (%)25 to 44 yrs (%)45 to 74 yrs (%)
'03January 66.171.883.148.2
'03February66.071.583.148.4
'03March65.971.582.848.2
'03April65.871.782.748.1
'03May65.871.582.848.1
'03June65.671.082.748.1
'03July 65.770.582.848.3
'03August65.670.382.748.4
'03September65.569.782.648.4
'03October65.570.082.548.4
'03November65.469.882.448.3
'03December65.269.082.348.4
'04January 65.369.082.448.5
'04February65.368.882.648.4
'04March65.268.482.648.4
'04April65.268.482.648.4
'04May65.268.582.648.5
'04June65.168.282.648.5
'04July 65.368.083.048.7
'04August65.267.782.948.6
'04September65.167.283.048.7
'04October65.267.082.948.9
'04November65.267.382.849.0
'04December65.267.182.849.1
'05January 65.167.182.649.2
'05February65.167.082.749.2
'05March65.267.382.849.2
'05April65.467.782.949.4
'05May65.467.483.149.5
'05June65.567.783.149.6
'05July 65.467.383.049.6
'05August65.567.383.249.7
'05September65.767.783.349.8
'05October65.767.883.449.9
'05November65.868.083.549.8
'05December65.868.183.749.9
'06January 65.968.084.149.9
'06February65.967.784.249.8
'06March66.068.184.349.8
'06April66.168.384.449.9
'06May66.068.184.249.9
'06June66.268.784.550.1
'06July 66.268.884.550.1
'06August66.468.884.850.2
'06September66.568.984.950.5
'06October66.769.385.050.6
'06November66.869.585.250.8
'06December67.169.785.351.2
'07January 67.269.885.551.3
'07February67.369.985.651.5
'07March67.670.485.851.8
'07April67.870.886.152.0
'07May67.870.886.051.9
'07June68.171.386.352.3
'07July 68.071.086.352.2
'07August68.371.586.452.6
'07September68.372.086.452.6
'07October68.472.386.552.7
'07November68.472.086.652.7
'07December68.572.186.752.8
'08January 68.772.486.953.1
'08February69.072.387.253.4
'08March69.072.487.353.4
'08April69.272.687.553.6
'08May69.272.487.653.7
'08June69.272.587.753.7
'08July 69.372.587.753.8
'08August69.372.287.953.9
'08September69.372.187.754.0
'08October69.472.287.854.2
'08November69.572.187.854.4
'08December69.472.387.754.4
'09January 69.672.387.854.7
'09February69.672.587.754.8
'09March69.672.287.754.9
'09April69.371.987.354.7
'09May69.271.687.254.8
'09June69.171.187.054.7
'09July 68.870.486.854.7
'09August68.770.286.754.6
'09September68.670.186.654.6
'09October68.469.686.554.6
'09November68.369.186.254.5
'09December68.269.286.154.5
'10January 68.168.886.054.5
'10February68.068.785.854.5
'10March67.868.685.754.4
'10April68.068.785.854.6
'10May68.068.685.954.7
'10June67.968.485.854.7
'10July 68.068.585.854.8
'10August68.068.485.954.8
'10September68.068.685.954.7
'10October68.068.486.154.8
'10November68.168.686.154.9
'10December68.168.686.254.9
'11January 67.968.386.154.7
'11February67.968.885.954.7
'11March67.768.685.654.5
'11April67.768.985.554.5
'11May67.568.985.154.6
'11June67.869.385.154.9
'11July 67.668.784.854.9
'11August67.769.284.755.0
'11September67.969.785.055.1
'11October67.969.885.055.2
'11November68.069.985.055.4
'11December68.169.985.255.6
'12January 68.069.685.055.6
'12February68.069.185.255.6
'12March67.869.084.955.5
'12April67.869.184.655.6
'12May67.869.084.755.6
'12June67.868.784.855.6
'12July 67.668.684.555.6
'12August67.869.084.855.6
'12September67.868.985.055.5
'12October67.769.084.855.4
'12November67.569.084.555.2
'12December67.468.984.255.2
'13January 67.268.783.855.2
'13February67.168.483.655.2
'13March67.068.383.655.2
'13April66.968.583.455.0
'13May66.868.383.354.9
'13June66.768.183.154.9
'13July 66.567.483.055.0
'13August66.567.483.055.0
'13September66.667.383.055.2
'13October66.767.883.055.3
'13November66.667.683.155.1
'13December66.367.282.854.8
'14January 66.266.982.654.8
'14February66.166.482.554.9
'14March65.866.082.354.6
'14April65.966.182.554.6
'14May66.066.282.854.7
'14June66.066.282.854.8
'14July 66.166.582.854.9
'14August66.266.482.955.1
'14September66.366.783.055.1
'14October66.567.083.455.3
'14November66.667.483.455.2
'14December66.567.483.355.2
'15January 66.668.083.455.2
'15February66.668.483.255.2
'15March66.568.783.055.1
'15April66.668.982.955.3
'15May66.768.983.155.3
'15June66.769.083.255.4
'15July 66.768.683.355.4
'15August66.868.683.355.5
'15September66.768.483.355.5
'15October66.768.383.555.4
'15November66.768.283.555.4
'15December66.768.083.655.5
'16January 66.867.983.655.7
'16February66.868.283.655.6
'16March66.868.183.555.7
'16April67.068.683.855.8
'16May67.068.783.855.7
'16June67.168.583.756.0
'16July 67.268.683.856.2
'16August67.368.883.956.2
'16September67.368.783.756.5
'16October67.468.783.956.5
'16November67.468.783.956.4
'16December67.568.784.156.5
'17January 67.669.084.156.7
'17February67.568.884.156.6
'17March67.768.984.456.7
'17April67.769.084.456.7
'17May67.769.584.356.7
'17June67.869.884.356.8
'17July 68.070.284.357.1
'17August68.170.284.457.2
'17September68.270.784.357.3
'17October68.270.884.357.3
'17November68.371.184.257.4
'17December68.371.084.357.3
'18January 68.571.484.657.4
'18February68.571.284.757.5
'18March68.771.284.857.8
'18April68.871.384.857.9
'18May68.971.585.257.9
'18June69.071.385.557.9
'18July 69.171.185.758.0
'18August69.371.286.058.2
'18September69.471.486.158.3
'18October69.571.885.958.4
'18November69.772.186.258.6
'18December69.772.586.058.5
'19January 69.872.786.158.7
'19February69.972.886.158.8
'19March69.972.786.258.8
'19April70.073.186.058.9
'19May70.073.186.058.9
'19June70.172.986.059.1
'19July 70.072.686.059.2
'19August70.072.585.959.2
'19September70.172.386.059.3
'19October70.272.785.959.5
'19November70.273.085.859.4
'19December70.473.685.959.5
'20January 70.673.686.259.7
'20February70.573.586.259.7
'20March70.372.886.159.5
'20April69.268.185.858.9
'20May69.066.985.659.2
'20June69.268.285.359.3
'20July 69.268.285.359.3
'20August69.368.385.459.3
'20September69.268.785.559.0
'20October69.570.385.759.0
'20November69.770.285.859.3
'20December69.769.885.959.4
'21January 69.769.885.959.4
'21February69.969.986.159.5
'21March69.769.986.059.2
'21April69.870.286.159.2
'21May69.870.286.159.3
'21June70.471.986.459.6
'21July 70.572.386.559.7
'21August70.772.786.459.9
'21September70.872.886.660.0
'21October71.173.186.960.2
'21November71.273.387.060.3
'21December71.273.786.760.4
'22January 71.574.386.960.5
'22February71.674.887.060.5
'22March72.075.687.260.9
'22April72.275.987.561.1
'22May72.376.187.461.1
'22June72.275.787.261.1
'22July 72.275.687.361.1
'22August72.174.987.361.2
'22September72.175.087.261.3
'22October72.375.587.261.5
'22November72.675.787.561.7
'22December72.976.387.762.0

More job gains and smaller inflow from inactive to employed labour force

There were 30 thousand fewer unemployed in December than three months previously (a decrease of 10 thousand per month on average). The decline in unemployment 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 decrease not only because more unemployed find a job than employed people lose jobs, but also because more people stop seeking work than start seeking work.
In December, the net outflow from unemployment to employment came out at 55 thousand. Since October, the flow from employment to unemployment has decreased, whereas the flow in the opposite direction has increased. Earlier this year (between June and September), the inflow to unemployment increased as more jobs were lost, while the flow from unemployed to employed remained virtually unchanged. This resulted in a relatively small net outflow from unemployment to employment in August and September.

Outflow from unemployment to employment (previous three months' balance)
YearMonth Outflow from unemployment to employment (balance) (x 1 000)
2020January 63
2020February70
2020March54
2020April-6
2020May-32
2020June-83
2020July -14
2020August18
2020September62
2020October59
2020November59
2020December52
2021January 60
2021February52
2021March52
2021April47
2021May51
2021June55
2021July 60
2021August52
2021September43
2021October44
2021November65
2021December61
2022January 64
2022February62
2022March64
2022April60
2022May59
2022June39
2022July 20
2022August5
2022September6
2022October21
2022November43
2022December55

In December, the inflow of unemployed into the inactive labour force amounted to 24 thousand on balance. This was lower than in the months of May through November. Net inflow peaked at 61 thousand in August. Due to the larger outflow into employment and the smaller net inflow from the inactive labour force, unemployment fell from 382 thousand in September to 352 thousand in December, thus decreasing by 30 thousand.

Inflow to unemployment from the inactive labour force (previous three months' balance)
YearMonthInflow ot unemployment from the inactive labour force (x 1 000)
2020January 21
2020February18
2020March33
2020April32
2020May24
2020June42
2020July 91
2020August112
2020September67
2020October37
2020November11
2020December9
2021January 0
2021February18
2021March14
2021April26
2021May21
2021June22
2021July 25
2021August39
2021September37
2021October34
2021November19
2021December31
2022January 35
2022February38
2022March23
2022April22
2022May46
2022June50
2022July 57
2022August61
2022September49
2022October33
2022November28
2022December24

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 do not correspond one-to-one with the labour force indicators.