Unemployment continues rapid rise

According to figures from Statistics Netherlands, an average half a million people in the Netherlands were unemployed in the first quarter of 2004. This is 128 thousand more than in the same quarter last year. In the last three months, 6.6 percent of the Dutch labour force were out of work on average. One year ago this was only 5.0 percent.

Increase speeding up

An average 500 thousand people were out of work in the Netherlands in the months January – March 2004. Seasonal effects always push up unemployment in the first quarter. If these effects are corrected for the unemployed labour force comes to 483 thousand.

Seen  over a longer period, the rise in unemployment is speeding up. Six months ago it rose by an average 8 thousand people a month. Now the increase in the last six months has increased to 14 thousand people a month.

Highest unemployment among young people

In the first quarter of 2004 an average 122 thousand people aged between 15-24 years were unemployed. This is 34 thousand more than twelve months previously. Youth unemployment has thus grown to 13.8 percent of the labour force in this age group. In the first quarter of 2003 this was only 9.9 percent. It should be mentioned in this respect that half of all 15-24 year-olds do not belong to the labour force; most of these are still in education.

Half of all unemployed people are in the age category 25-44 years. The unemployment rate in this age group was lower than among young people however, at 6.1 percent. Among 45-64 year-olds an average 127 thousand people were unemployed, 5.0 percent of the labour force in this age group.

Employment down

In the last three months an average 7,036 thousand people had a paid job of at least twelve hours a week. This is 52 thousand fewer than in the first quarter of 2003.

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