More long-term unemployed

Due to the downswing of the economy between 2001 and 2003 more and more people became dependent on unemployment benefits (WW). The number of benefits increased as well as the number of people who did not succeed in finding a job within a period of six months.

Noticeable increase

The inflow into the unemployment benefit scheme grew significantly, from 204 thousand in 2001 to 319 thousand in 2003. The number of persons who received WW during more than six months was increasing all the time. In 2001 one third of WW applicants were registered for an uninterrupted period of more than six months, whereas in 2003 one in two were. Two in every three persons eligible for unemployment insurance benefits received a benefit for less than a year, whereas one in ten received a benefit during more than three years.

Inflow and outflow WW

One in five receive benefit more than once

In the period 2001–2003 the number of persons to receive unemployment benefits more than once totalled 125 thousand. In nearly half of these cases the duration of the benefit never exceeded six months. In construction, temp agencies and agriculture, recurrent recipients of unemployment benefits were frequent. These sectors are more easily affected by seasonal influences and temporary labour contracts are common. Non-western foreigners claimed unemployment assistance slightly more often than native Dutch. In the period 2001–2003 22 percent of non-western applicants for unemployment benefits received a benefit more than once, the corresponding rate among the native Dutch population was 18 percent.

Persons who claimed WW more than once per sector, 2001–2003

Long-term unemployment benefit recipients often older

Nearly half of the inflow of unemployment benefit applicants in the period 2001–2003 were under the age of 35. Most benefits were discontinued within six months. The overall picture that emerges is: the older the benefit claimant, the longer the period. In the over-45 age bracket more than half of applicants received WW for more than six months in the period 2001–2003. Among over-55s the rate was approximately 80 percent. Persons who received an unemployment benefit more than once were evenly spread across the various age groups. Only the share of over-55s is relatively small.

Inflow WW by age and duration period, 2001–2003

Harold Kroeze and Maartje Rienstra