Unemployment rising less rapidly

Unemployment is still rising, but at a much lower rate than in recent months. This is shown by new figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

In August there were 426,000 people who wanted and could work without work. That amounts to 4.6% of the working population. Unemployment in July was 4.5%.

Last month a total of 7,000 people became unemployed. In the previous months, that figure had risen by two or more times that figure, to more than ten times that figure.

More people looking for work

According to the CBS, unemployment has risen in recent months not so much because many people lost their jobs, but mainly because more people started looking for work. This has to do with the way in which the number of unemployed is counted.

One of the determinants is whether someone is looking for work. Those who are able and willing to work but nevertheless do not have a job count as unemployed for the CBS. Conversely, someone who has no work and stops looking for a job does not count as unemployed. That person then no longer forms part of the so-called labour force.

Fewer people with WW benefit

Meanwhile, the number of WW benefits is falling. At the end of August, 292,000 people received WW benefits from the UWV. That is 9100 fewer than in the previous month.

The number of WW benefits fell especially among young people between 15 and 25 years of age. They often have only built up limited WW entitlements, and therefore often receive the benefit for a relatively short period of time. For many of these young people, the fact that they no longer receive benefits does not mean that they have found a job again.

At the same time, the UWV granted fewer new benefits last month. In August there were an average of 7100 new recipients per week. In the previous month, that number had dropped to 8700.

All in all, the number of current WW benefits is still considerably higher than at the beginning of the year, before the corona crisis erupted.

Labour market tightening

The UWV also provided more information on the tension on the labour market: the ratio between the number of open vacancies and the number of short-term unemployed who can find work. Before the corona crisis, this tension was problematically tight, with more vacancies than short-term unemployed. As is to be expected, more people are now available in the Netherlands to fill each vacancy. In other words, the scarcity has decreased.

For the first time in two years, the labour market is back in balance in this sense: in most of the country there are about as many vacancies as there are short-term unemployed. In the regions of Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Flevoland and Zaanstreek/Waterland there are more people available than vacancies that need to be filled. At the same time, in Rivierenland, Midden-Utrecht, Zeeland and Zuidoost-Brabant there is more demand for people.

Yet there are still occupations for which it is difficult to find people. This applies to software and application developers, electricians, electronics mechanics, machine mechanics, finishing workers and nurses.