Economic recovery leads to fewer unemployment benefits

20/06/2006 14:00

At the end of March 2006, 304 thousand people in the Netherlands were claiming unemployment benefit; this is 36 thousand fewer than twelve months previously. The number of benefits claimed fell twice as strongly for men as for women.

11 percent fewer unemployment benefits

Because of the economic recovery, the number of employee jobs rose by 1 percent between March 2005 and March 2006. The number of unfilled vacancies rose by 2 percent. The number of unemployment benefits fell by 11 percent in this period.

Unemployment benefits

Unemployment benefits

More older women claiming unemployment benefits

The decrease in the number of benefits is largest among 25-44 year-olds, for both men and women. In March 2006, 128 thousand people in this age group were claiming unemployment benefit, compared with 162 thousand twelve months previously. The number of claimants under 25 years of age fell by 7 thousand to 13 thousand. Older people do not seem to have benefited from the economic recovery. The number of men aged 45 years and older claiming unemployment benefit was hardly lower at the end of March than at the same time one year previously. The number of women in this age group claiming unemployment benefit was even 5 thousand higher than one year previously. 

Unemployment benefits by age

Unemployment benefits by age

Benefits drop by most in province of Utrecht

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit fell in all provinces of the Netherlands, but there were differences between the provinces. It fell by most in Utrecht: 16 percent fewer people were claiming benefits than in March 2005. In Zeeland the fall was only 4 percent. One reason for this was that more women in this province were claiming a benefit than twelve months previously.

Men in the west, women in the north

Men living in the west of the country have benefited most from the economic upturn. The number of people in this group claiming unemployment benefit fell by 13 percent on average. Only in Zeeland is the picture different, here the number of men claiming unemployment benefit fell by 9 percent.
For women the number of unemployment benefits in the north and the west of the country fell by more than in the south and the east. In the provinces Groningen and Utrecht the number of benefits fell by no less than 15 percent.

Unemployment benefits by province, March 2005–March 2006

Unemployment benefits by province, March 2005–March 2006

Ton Ferber