Although unemployment in the Netherlands is still decreasing, Dutch consumers are becoming noticeably gloomier about the labour market. The news that companies are beginning to suffer the effects of the financial crisis is affecting the mood of consumers. Since August 2008, an increasing share of the population expects unemployment to increase in the next twelve months.
Expected change in unemployment in the next 12 months, 2000–2008
Turning point in late summer 2007
Statistics Netherlands measures consumer confidence every month. One of the questions it uses to do this concerns the expected change in unemployment. After a period of nearly two years in which consumers were predominantly positive about the development in unemployment, the tide turned in the late summer of 2007. The percentage of consumers who thought that unemployment would rise grew slowly, while the percentage who predicted a fall slowly decreased. From August 2008, the slide picked up speed as consumers became increasingly sombre about future unemployment.
Expected change in unemployment in the next 12 months, October 2008
Pessimism hits hard in October
By October 2008, nearly half of consumers interviewed said that they expected unemployment to rise in the next twelve months. Only one in ten expected it to fall. By comparison, in June 2007 when consumer confidence was peaking, only 15 percent of respondents thought that unemployment would rise, while over half said they expected it to fall.