In May, 3.6 million people aged 15 to 74 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 March through May, the number of people outside the labour force declined by an average of 6 thousand per month.
|Year||Month||Unemployment (15 to 74 yrs, seasonally adjusted) (x 1,000)||WW unemployment benefits (15 yrs up to state pension age) (x 1,000)|
UWV: fewer WW benefits than last month and year on year
At the end of May 2023, the UWV provided 151 thousand WW benefits. This is 5.4 thousand fewer than in the preceding month (-3.5 percent). In May, 20.3 thousand WW benefits were terminated and 14.9 thousand new benefits were granted. Relative to May 2022, there was a decrease in the number of current unemployment benefits of 8.4 percent. Among the over-45s in particular, there were fewer WW benefit recipients than one year previously.
Slight drop in unemployment over past three months
In May, there were 3 thousand fewer unemployed than three months previously (i.e. a modest decrease by one 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 employed people lose their jobs, and when people who did not enter the labour market previously and have started seeking work. If they do not find work immediately, they become part of the unemployed labour force.
Unemployment fell in May (relative to three months previously) because the number of people in work who became unemployed was smaller than the number of unemployed who found a job. The balance stood at -32 thousand in May, which was slightly less than in the previous month.
Unemployment increased due to the inflow of unemployed from outside the labour force. This increase amounted to 28 thousand on balance, which is up on the number in April.
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.