Unemployment down in April
In April, 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 February through April, the number of people outside the labour force fell slightly by an average of 2 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)|
Unemployment lowest among the over-45s
The unemployment rate is lowest among the labour force aged 45 years and over. It stood at 2.1 percent in April, the lowest rate in the series of figures as of 2003. This is equivalent to 87 thousand unemployed over-45s, also the lowest number in two decades.
Among young people (15 to 24 years), 7.9 percent of the labour force were unemployed. The unemployment rate is generally highest in this age group. The lowest point was reached in April last year: 6.9 percent. In that month, unemployment among the entire labour force was the lowest as well. Among 25 to 44-year-olds, the unemployment rate in April last year stood at 2.5 percent. In April 2023, it amounted to 2.8 percent.
Long-term unemployment declined further
With the decline in unemployment among the over-45s, the share of long-term unemployed, i.e. those who have been looking for work for one year or more, also decreased. Long-term unemployment is generally most likely to occur among the over-45s. Unemployment among young people is more often short-term.
Of the unemployed in Q1 2023, 18 percent were long-term unemployed. This was still 43 percent at the start of 2015. After that, a gradual but continuous decline began. In Q2 2020, at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the share of short-term unemployed surged at once and the share of long-term unemployed thus decreased significantly. Subsequently, the proportion of long-term unemployed grew again to pre-pandemic levels at the end of 2021. The share has been falling again since then.
|Jaar||Kwartaal||12 months or more (x 1,000)||Under 12 months (x 1,000)|
UWV: fewer WW benefits in April
At the end of April 2023, UWV provided 156 thousand current WW benefits. This is 1.9 thousand fewer than in the preceding month (-1.2 percent). In April, 18.7 thousand WW benefits were terminated and 16.8 thousand new benefits were granted. Furthermore, in April 17.1 percent of WW recipients had been receiving benefits for one year or more. This is less than one year previously, when the percentage was 24.1 percent.
UWV: fewer WW benefits in nearly all sectors
The number of current WW benefits decreased in nearly all sectors in April. The largest decline was seen in temporary employment (-4.2 percent), agriculture (-3.8 percent) and construction (-3.4 percent). Three sectors saw a slight increase in benefits in April, namely the public sector (+0.3 percent), wholesale trade (+0.5 percent) and other commercial services (+1.5 percent).
Inflow of unemployed from non-labour force slightly lower again
In April, there were 17 thousand fewer unemployed than three months previously (i.e. a decrease of 6 thousand per month on average). This decline 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.
Unemployment in April declined because the number of people in work who became unemployed was smaller than the number of unemployed who found a job. In April, this balance stood at -40 thousand, which was higher than in the previous month.
Unemployment in April increased due to the inflow of unemployed from outside the labour force. This increase amounted to 23 thousand on balance, which is 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.
- Visualisation - Labour market dashboard
- Dossier - Business Cycle