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Friday, 17 February 2012

Unemployment soars in The Netherlands in January and reaches an average of 6% from 5.75% in the previous month. The 3-4% higher that I predicted for Dutch unemployment in 2012 seems well within grasp.

Today the Central Bureau of Statistics ( in The Netherlands presented its unemployment figures for January. Like I expected, the figures were not good and they seem to be an omen for the rest of 2012. Here is a large part of the press release by the CBS.

• Unemployment in January exceeds peak of February 2010
• Increase young job seekers registered at UWV
• Nearly 22,000 WW benefits more than in December

Unemployment adjusted for seasonal variation increased by 18,000 in January 2012 to 474,000, i.e. 6.0% of the labour force, according to the most recent figures released by Statistics Netherlands.
Figures presented by the Institute for Implementation of Employees’ Insurances (UWV) show that the number of job seekers registered in the UWV database as well as the number of unemployment (WW) benefits have risen in 
January 2012.

January’s unemployment figure exceeds the peak recorded in February 2010.

The male unemployment rate is 0.5% higher than in February 2010. The female unemployment rate is approximately the same as in early 2010. Unemployment among women is still higher than among men.

Although youth unemployment grew in January, it is still below the level of
nearly two years ago. Unemployment among over-25s, on the other hand, is
still higher than in early 2010.

The number of unemployed job seekers registered in the UWV database grew by 1.3% in January 2012 relative to December 2011 to 479,000. Proportionally, the largest increase was recorded among under-25 job seekers (+2.6%). The number of job seekers also increased considerably among people in lower-level jobs in engineering (+3.9%), transport (+3.1%), secondary-level care (+2.6%) and administrative jobs (+2.4%).

The number of current WW benefits rose by 8% in January relative to December 2011 to 292,000. In the first month of this year, 56,000 new WW benefits were granted, a 29% increase from December. The number of benefits terminated in January was 34,000, an increase by nearly 10% relative to one month previously. The number of benefits terminated due to work resumption grew above average (+33.1 %).

In general all figures mentioned above are quite bad, except for one. It is good to read that the number of people that found a job rose above average. But all in all the presented figures are in line with my prediction that the Dutch economy is still deteriorating and will further deteriorate in 2012.

In my Outlook for 2012 (part II), I made a prediction on the development Dutch unemployment rate in 2012:

I’m very clear about unemployment. In 2012, I suspect it to rise by at least 3%-4% in The Netherlands and by about 2% in Germany. Rising unemployment will probably even be higher in the other Euro-zone countries, where the PIIGS will probably be the negative outliers; not only in sheer numbers, but also in the percentage of increase.

Although 2012 is still very young, the unemployment development in January is fully in synch with my prediction. And I suspect that the coming numbers during the first half of this year will be much worse.

Now I want to zoom in at the unemployment figures, based on the data in the CBS Statline Database:

Data courtesy of
Click to enlarge
The general unemployment data (for workers from 25-65 years) shows that the development of male unemployment since 2005 has been far worse than the development of female unemployment.

Since December 2011, male unemployment has surpassed both the 2005 and the 2010 peaks, while female unemployment is still 1.6% shy of 2005’s peak. The unemployment rates for both males and females are strongly correlating since May 2011, which points to both an improving number of (typical) women’s jobs since 2005 and a loss of (typical) men’s jobs since then.

I would not be surprised at all if men’s unemployment would exceed women’s unemployment in the coming months, especially as the number of engineering jobs and transport jobs seem to decrease, which are typical men’s jobs. 

Although manufacturing is not mentioned in the aforementioned CBS overview, I suspect that unemployment will be soaring in this industry in the coming months, due to the now inevitable mass lay-offs at manufacturing companies like NedCar and Tata Steel. And these are also typical men’s jobs.

Data courtesy of
Click to enlarge
In contrary to men’s and (to a lesser degree) women’s unemployment in the age group 25-65 yrs, the youth unemployment is still much lower than the peaks of 2010 and 2005. Reason for this could be that youngsters more often  work in the ICT industry than older people. The ICT industry was in a much worse shape in 2005 (after the dotcom bubble bursted) than nowadays, when there is still sufficient work.

Another reason could be that youngsters are mostly working under flexible labor contracts, instead of fixed contracts. And the flex-labor market is still quite healthy at the moment. But it is my strong belief that also the flex-market will deteriorate quickly in 2012, which will have a heavy influence on youth unemployment.

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