According to figures from Statistics Netherlands, an average 460 thousand people in the Netherlands were unemployed in the first quarter of 2006. After correction for seasonal effects, unemployment comes to 438 thousand. This is 13 thousand fewer than in the period December 2005- February 2006.
In the last three months, 6.2 percent of the labour force were unemployed. One year previously this was 7.0 percent.
Substantial fall in unemployment in last six months
Seasonally adjusted unemployment remained fairly stable in the first three quarters of 2005, at 490 thousand. After than it began to decrease, and in the last two quarters it fell by nearly 50 thousand. In the first quarter of 2006 unemployment fell at a rate of 7 thousand a month.
Unemployment falls most for 25-44 year-olds
In the first quarter of 2006 unemployment was 56 thousand lower than in the first quarter of 2005. The decrease was largest for 25-44 year-olds. The number of unemployed fell by 42 thousand in this category. Among 25-44 year-olds 5.5 percent of the labour force were unemployed in the first quarter. One year previously this was 6.6 percent.
Unemployment is also falling in the youngest age group. In the first quarter 99 thousand 15-24 year-olds were unemployed, 15 thousand fewer than twelve months previously. Youth unemployment fell by 1.7 percent points to 12.2 percent.
For the over-45s, unemployment rose by 2 thousand to 144 thousand unemployed. However, because the number of people with a job also rose in this age group, the percentage of unemployed fell slightly to 5.4 percent.