Unemployment virtually unchanged in March
In March, 3.6 million people aged 15 to 74 years did not have paid work for a variety of reasons. Aside from the unemployed, 3.2 million people were not looking and/or immediately available for work; they are not counted towards the labour force. These are mainly retirees and people unable to work due to illness or disability. From January through March, the number of people outside the labour force fell slightly by an average of 1 thousand per month.
|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)|
Labour participation and unemployment stable early this year
The share of the population aged 15 to 74 years in paid work (net labour participation rate) amounted to 72.9 percent last month. This percentage has remained the same since December. The unemployment rate in that month stood at 3.5 percent, just as in March. In January, it rose slightly (to 3.6 percent), but in February and March the rate was back at the level of December.
Trends varied for different age groups. In general, unemployment is highest among young people aged 15 to 24 years. This age group saw an increase in recent months: from 7.5 percent in December last year to 8.0 percent in March. Among the over-45s, on the other hand, the unemployment rate declined over the same period: from 2.5 to 2.2 percent. Unemployment among 25 to 44-year-olds increased slightly from 2.8 to 2.9 percent.
UWV: slightly more WW benefits in March
At the end of March 2023, UWV provided 158 thousand current WW benefits. This is over 4 thousand more than in the previous month (+2.8 percent). The increase was largest in the sectors retail trade, wholesale trade and other commercial services. In March, more than 20 thousand benefits were terminated, while over 24 thousand new benefits were granted. Relative to one year previously, the number of WW benefits fell by nearly 26 thousand. This represents a decrease of 14.1 percent.
Inflow of unemployed from non-labour force slightly higher again
There were 5 thousand more unemployed in March than three months previously (an increase of 2 thousand per month on average). This increase is the result of underlying flows between the employed, unemployed and non-labour force. This is visualised in the diagram below. The chart below the diagram shows how these different flows have developed over the past few months.
The graphics show there are two flows that can reduce unemployment. The first flow is when unemployed people find a job; the second flow is when unemployed people stop seeking work and withdraw from the labour market.
There are also two opposite flows, which can increase unemployment. These occur when people in employment lose their jobs and when people who did not enter the labour market before start seeking work. If they do not find work immediately, they become part of the unemployed labour force.
In March, the inflow of unemployed from outside the labour force amounted to 40 thousand, on balance. This is somewhat higher than in the final months of 2022 and early 2023. As a result, unemployment has increased in recent months.
The increase in unemployment is dampened by the fact that the number of people in work who became unemployed was smaller than the number of unemployed who found a job. In March, this balance stood at 34 thousand, which was lower than in the previous month.
Every month, CBS publishes figures on the labour force in accordance with guidelines of the International Labour Organization (ILO). 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.
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