Environmental Data Compendium
70 factsheets about the environment
Spatial developments

Net labour participation, 2016

Net labour participation in the Netherlands rose slightly in 2016 compared to the previous year. Regional differences in labour participation are limited in general. Only municipalities in the provinces of Groningen, Zeeland and Zuid-Limburg have a relatively low labour participation rate.

Small increase in labour participation

The labour participation rate among 15 to 74-year-olds was just under 66 percent in 2016, i.e. a slight increase compared to 2015. This applies to both women and men. However, this rate was still 2 percentage points lower than in 2008, when net participation reached a high at 68 percent. After 2008, the participation rate dropped among men in particular. This decline was discontinued in 2014 while labour participation among women continued to fall at that time by one percentage point.

Of the four big cities, Utrecht has highest share of employed

Out of the four largest municipalities, Utrecht and Amsterdam have the highest net labour participation rates: 70 and 68 percent respectively. The share of employed people in The Hague and Rotterdam is significantly lower than the national average: 60 and 57 percent respectively of the people aged 15 to 74 years are in work.

Higher labour participation in central part of country

Labour participation is high particularly in the central part of the country, stretching from small municipalities in Zuid-Holland to the top of Overijssel. The rate is the lowest in municipalities in the eastern part of Groningen and in Zuid-Holland.


Relevant information

Technical information

Subject name

Net labour participation, 2016


The share of the employed labour force in de potential labour force. The employed labour force comprises all people aged 15 to 74 years who have paid work for at least 1 hour per week. The potential labour force refers to all people aged 15 to 74 years living in the Netherlands.

Responsible authority

Statistics Netherlands (CBS), Sebastian Alejandro Perez

Estimation method

Employed labour force aged 15 to 74 years as a percentage of the population aged 15 to 74 years, except persons living in institutions (institutionalised population). The figures by region are determined using a model-based estimation method. To increase qualilty, models include variables which are strongly predictive of the target variable. Bayesian methods are used for parameter estimation. More details on estimation methods can be found in the publication Small area estimates of labour status in Dutch municipalities (CBS, 2011).

Basic table

Statline: Arbeidsdeelname, regionale indeling 2016 (CBS, 2016)

Geographical classification


Other variables

Education level of the population



Background literature

For a short survey description, see the notes to the Labour Force Survey (LFS) on the CBS website.


Compared to the reporting years 2009 to 2013 (versions 1 to 5), there has been a change in the definition of "employed" as well as "population". In the reporting years 2014, 2015 and 2016 (versions 6, 7 and 8), an employed person had a job for one hour or more per week. In versions 1 to 5, an employed person worked 12 hours or more per week. The population now refers to persons in the age category 15 to 74 years, versus 15 to 64 years in versions 1 to 5. In the reporting years 2014, 2015 and 2016, the small area estimation method was used for the first time to achieve accurate results.

Reliability code

C. Estimation, based on a large number of (accurate) measurements; representativeness is largely guaranteed.

Archive for this indicator

Reference for this page

CBS, PBL, RIVM, WUR (2018). Net labour participation, 2016 (indicator 2099, version 08 , 9 January 2018 ). www.environmentaldata.nl. Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Hague; PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague; RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven; and Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen.

Lees in het Nederlands Print page Download PDF
The Environmental Data Compendium is a partnership of CBS, PBL, RIVM and WUR.