The number of unemployment benefits (WW) increased in the fourth quarter of 2003 to a total of 287 thousand at the end of 2003. Unemployment benefits increased by an average of 6 thousand a month during the second half of 2003. The increase was less than during the first six months of 2003, according to the latest figures by Statistics Netherlands.
The number of benefits under the national insurance act (ABW) increased by 1 thousand a month in the third quarter, reaching 330 thousand on 30 September 2003. On the other hand, the number of labour disablement benefits fell by a thousand a month throughout 2003, reaching 982 thousand on 31 December 2003.
Less increase in unemployment benefits in the third and fourth quarter of 2003
By the end of December 2003 the number of unemployment benefits (WW) had reached 287 thousand. The last time this level was reached was in February 1999. The seasonally corrected figure for unemployment benefits (WW) was 289 thousand at the end of December 2003. It increased by an average of 6 thousand a month in the second half of 2003. This is less than during the first half, when the average monthly increase was over 8 thousand. The increase still exceeded that of 2002, when unemployment benefits increased by an average of 3 thousand a month.
National assistance increases by a thousand a month
On 30 September 2003 the number of benefits paid under the National Assistance Act (ABW) was 330 thousand. This is up 3 thousand on the previous quarter. Within one year, national assistance benefits increased by 13 thousand; an average of more than a thousand a month. The number of national assistance benefits to singe people aged under 35 increased especially fast. The rate of increase in national assistance benefits was lower than for unemployment benefits.
Labour disablement benefits decreasing by a thousand a month
By December 2003 the number of labour disablement benefits totalled 982 thousand, 11 thousand less than in December 2002. This means a decrease of labour disablement benefits (under the industrial disablement act, WAO; the disablement act for self-employed, WAZ; and the disablement provision for disabled from an early age, Wajong) by almost a thousand a month. Much of the decrease involved men in the 45-54 age bracket, where the number of benefits decreased by 7 thousand in 2003. The decrease among women was much smaller, and among women aged 55-64 the number of labour disablement benefits actually even increased by 5 thousand in 2003.
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