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From September to November, the size of the Dutch labour force (the active and unemployed labour force combined) increased by 6 thousand people monthly on average. This is due to a sharp increase in the number of employed in October (+40 thousand) and November (+29 thousand). There were 4.1 million people in November who did not have paid work for a variety of reasons. In addition to the unemployed, 3.8 million people were not looking and/or immediately available for work recently. These people are not counted towards the labour force. Their number decreased by an average of 2 thousand per month over the past three months.

Sharp decline in unemployment in November

In order to enable comparison of cyclical movements in the labour market between countries, the unemployment indicator of the International Labour Organization (ILO) is often taken as a measure. According to this indicator, the ‘unemployed’ includes all persons who do not have paid work but who have been looking for paid work recently and who are immediately available. This covers the population aged 15 to 74 years. There were 378 thousand unemployed in November, equivalent to 4.0 percent of the labour force. In October, this was 4.3 percent (406 thousand). Between March and August, unemployment rose by over 150 thousand. Subsequently, it fell by nearly 50 thousand up through November.

Unemployment* and unemployment benefits
2012 January 486 292
2012 February 482 299
2012 March 487 296
2012 April 502 292
2012 May 501 291
2012 June 502 291
2012 July 518 298
2012 August 517 304
2012 September 530 304
2012 October 539 310
2012 November 554 322
2012 December 572 340
2013 January 589 369
2013 February 601 377
2013 March 619 380
2013 April 625 380
2013 May 632 378
2013 June 648 382
2013 July 666 395
2013 August 670 399
2013 September 675 400
2013 October 680 408
2013 November 677 419
2013 December 687 438
2014 January 691 460
2014 February 699 460
2014 March 692 454
2014 April 684 443
2014 May 672 436
2014 June 656 431
2014 July 648 437
2014 August 637 430
2014 September 630 420
2014 October 632 419
2014 November 635 425
2014 December 643 441
2015 January 645 458
2015 February 633 455
2015 March 626 443
2015 April 625 427
2015 May 617 416
2015 June 611 410
2015 July 603 420
2015 August 604 420
2015 September 609 417
2015 October 616 421
2015 November 596 427
2015 December 588 446
2016 January 574 465
2016 February 581 469
2016 March 574 470
2016 April 572 461
2016 May 560 448
2016 June 550 438
2016 July 541 432
2016 August 521 427
2016 September 510 424
2016 October 502 420
2016 November 499 410
2016 December 482 412
2017 January 480 419
2017 February 473 416
2017 March 463 415
2017 April 456 401
2017 May 456 386
2017 June 446 372
2017 July 436 364
2017 August 426 362
2017 September 422 351
2017 October 404 343
2017 November 397 337
2017 December 395 330
2018 January 380 335
2018 February 367 330
2018 March 357 327
2018 April 355 314
2018 May 352 301
2018 June 354 288
2018 July 348 279
2018 August 353 278
2018 September 343 274
2018 October 337 269
2018 November 326 267
2018 December 329 263
2019 January 329 279
2019 February 312 274
2019 March 307 268
2019 April 300 257
2019 May 302 251
2019 June 313 243
2019 July 313 234
2019 August 321 237
2019 September 323 233
2019 October 323 233
2019 November 324 228
2019 December 302 223
2020 January 284 241
2020 February 274 240
2020 March 273 250
2020 April 314 292
2020 May 330 301
2020 June 404 301
2020 July 419 301
2020 August 426 292
2020 September 413 278
2020 October 406 278
2020 November 378 276
*The unemployment figures for October and November are provisional.

UWV: Fewer unemployment benefits in November

At the end of November 2020, UWV provided 276 thousand current unemployment (WW) benefits. This is 1.9 thousand down on October, representing a decrease of 0.7 percent. Relative to one year previously, the number of current WW benefits was up (+21.4 percent).

In November, the number of current WW benefits declined in most sectors. Sectors with an increase relative to October included accommodation and food services (+14.5 percent), culture (+6.6 percent) and transportation and logistics (+1.2 percent).

UWV: Outflow exceeded inflow in November

In November, UWV issued 33 thousand new WW benefits. The number of terminated benefits stood at nearly 35 thousand. Due to higher outflow than inflow, the total number of current benefits was slightly down in November.

Lower number of unemployed

The decline in the number of unemployed 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.

In November, 378 thousand people were unemployed. This number stood at 426 thousand three months previously, in August. This means that unemployment declined by 48 thousand over this period (16 thousand per month on average). On the one hand, this was because there were more unemployed who found work (from unemployed to employed) than employed who lost their job and became unemployed (from employed to unemployed). On balance, this resulted in unemployment declining by 34 thousand over the past three months.

On the other hand, unemployment also declined because there were fewer people who started looking with no direct result (from inactive labour force to unemployed) than people who stopped looking and/or were not available (from unemployed to inactive labour force). On balance, this resulted in 14 thousand fewer unemployed persons. In October, the number of people who started looking still exceeded the number who stopped looking and/or were unavailable, setting back slightly the fall in unemployment.

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.

Source of original article: Statistics Netherlands (CBS) (www.cbs.nl).
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