Unemployment dips below 400 thousand mark

Seasonally adjusted unemployment averaged 394 thousand in the fourth quarter of 2006, a reduction by 11 thousand relative to the period September-November 2006. For the first time in more than three years, seasonally adjusted unemployment dipped below the 400 thousand mark, according to the most recent figures published by Statistics Netherlands.

In the fourth quarter of last year, 5.0 percent of the labour force were unemployed, as against 6.0 percent in 2005.

Decrease after erratic pattern in summer

Last year, seasonally adjusted unemployment showed a rather erratic pattern. In the first six months of 2006, unemployment dropped by an average 9 thousand a month to 408 thousand in the second quarter. In summer, unemployment ranged between 404 and 413 thousand. After the summer, unemployment decreased further. At the end of 2006, unemployment fell at the same rate as in the first six months. The seasonally adjusted unemployment figure dropped to 394 thousand in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Unemployment reduced by 70 thousand in 2006

When the unemployment figure over the fourth quarter was definite, the annual figure for 2006 also became available. On average, 413 thousand people were unemployed last year, a reduction by 70 thousand relative to 2005. The unemployment rate over 2006 was 5.5 percent, as against 6.5 percent in 2004 and 2005.

In 2006, more men than women (re-)entered the job market. Male unemployment declined by 47 thousand to 191 thousand, female unemployment stood at 222 thousand, a reduction by 23 thousand compared to 2005.

Unemployment declined in all age groups in 2006. The most substantial decrease by 46 thousand to 187 thousand was recorded among 25 to 44-year-olds. Last year, 91 thousand young people were jobless, a reduction by 21 thousand compared to 2005. The reduction among over-45s was only marginal by 4 thousand to 134 thousand.

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