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More employed in February

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In the period December through February, the number of people aged 15 to 74 in paid employment grew by an average of 13 thousand per month. The number of employed stood at more than 8.9 million at the end of February.

CBS (Centraal Bureau Voor De Statistiek)

© Nikki van Toorn (CBS)
In the period December through February, the number of people aged 15 to 74 in paid employment grew by an average of 13 thousand per month. The number of employed stood at more than 8.9 million at the end of February. Unemployment declined by an average of 5 thousand per month to 312 thousand. These are people who did not have paid work, and who indicated they had recently looked and had been immediately available for work. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new figures.

Nearly 4.1 million people did not have paid work for a variety of reasons. In addition to the unemployed mentioned earlier, there were nearly 3.8 million people who had not looked or/nor been immediately available for work recently. They are not included in the labour force. Their number dropped by an average of 2 thousand per month over the previous three months. At the end of February, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) recorded 274 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits.

Unemployment indicator

In order to enable comparison of cyclical developments in the labour market between countries, the unemployment indicator of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is often taken as a measure. According to this indicator, the ‘unemployed’ includes all 15 to 74-year-olds who do not have paid work but who have been looking for paid work recently and who are immediately available. There were 312 thousand unemployed in February, approximately the same as in November 2008, just before the crisis. However, the unemployment rate is currently lower: 3.4 percent against 3.6 percent in November 2008. This is because the labour force - the number of unemployed and employed combined - has increased from 8.7 to 9.2 million people. The unemployed now constitute a smaller share.

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Unemployment (ILO indicator, seasonally adjusted) and unemployment benefits (x 1,000)
   Unemployment indicator (ILO)
(15 to 74 yrs, seasonally adjusted)
Unemployment benefits (15 yrs to pension entitlement age)
2011January430284
February425280
March413270
April411261
May414256
June409252
July425254
August427256
September442252
October458253
November474258
December473270
2012January486292
February482299
March487296
April502292
May501291
June502291
July518298
August517304
September530304
October539310
November554322
December572340
2013January589369
February601377
March619380
April625380
May632378
June648382
July666395
August670399
September675400
October680408
November677419
December687438
2014January691460
February699460
March692454
April684443
May672436
June656431
July648437
August637430
September630420
October632419
November635425
December643441
2015January645458
February633455
March626443
April625427
May617416
June611410
July603420
August604420
September609417
October616421
November596427
December588446
2016January574465
February581469
March574470
April572461
May560448
June550438
July541432
August521427
September510424
October502420
November499410
December482412
2017January480419
February473416
March463415
April456401
May456386
June446372
July436364
August426362
September422351
October404343
November397337
December395330
2018January380335
February367330
March357327
April355314
May352301
June354288
July348279
August353278
September343274
October337269
November326267
December329263
2019January329279
February312274

UWV: Slight decrease in WW benefits

The number of WW benefits stood at 274 thousand in February 2019, i.e. a decrease of 2 percent. In comparison to February 2018, the number dropped by 17 percent.
A person may receive more than one WW benefit at the same time. At the end of February 2019, there were 266 thousand WW benefit recipients, 28.2 percent of whom had been receiving their benefit for over a year.

UWV: Strongest annual decrease seen in construction and in health and welfare

The number of benefits is declining on an annual basis in all sectors. Compared to February 2018, the sharpest drop was seen in construction (-29 percent) and in health and welfare (-23 percent), followed by retail trade (-22 percent), the cleaning sector (-21 percent) and the banking and insurance sector (-20 percent).

The number of WW benefits decreased in all occupational groups relative to one year previously. The groups with the largest decline were education (-22 percent), commerce (-21 percent), technical professions (-21 percent) and the service sector (-21 percent).

Mainly more over-45s in employment

Compared to the beginning of the crisis, the labour force (employed and unemployed combined) grew by 494 thousand on balance. This s mainly due to an increase in the number of employed. The increase was strongest among the over-45s. The number dropped among 25 to 44-year-olds.

The number of women aged 45 to 74 in employment grew most significantly, by 406 thousand, reaching nearly 1.8 million in February 2019. The number of employed men in this age group increased by 334 thousand to 2.2 million. Youth employment increased slightly.

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Unused labour potential

Every month, CBS publishes figures on the size of the employed labour force and the non-employed population. The latter group comprises the unemployed labour force as well as people not included in the labour force (all these groups follow the ILO definition).

However, the unemployed labour force does not represent all unused labour potential. According to the ILO indicator, this includes other groups of people aside from the unemployed. These people have either looked for work recently or are immediately available for work. They are counted towards the unused labour potential but fall outside the scope of the ILO definition of employment. People who work part-time but want to work more hours and are immediately available are also included in the unused labour potential.

These groups are only reported on every quarter in terms of size and composition. The overall picture provided in the table below is based on the latest quarterly figures (Q4 2018). The total unused labour potential in Q4 2018 comprised slightly more than 1.0 million people. This was still over 1.2 million one year previously. Development of the total unused labour potential closely follows developments in unemployment according to the ILO definition.

Beroepsbevolking van 15 tot 75 jaar Niet-beroepsbevolking Niet gezocht en niet beschikbaar Wil en/of kan niet werken Wil wel werken Gezocht en niet beschikbaar Beschikbaar en niet gezocht Vanwege weinig resultaat Vanwege andere reden Beroepsbevolking Werkloos (ILO-definitie) Werkzaam Deeltijd Wil meer uren werken, beschikbaar Voltijd

Every month, CBS publishes figures on the 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.

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