Slower rise in unemployment

22/04/2010 15:00
  • Unemployment up by 8 thousand a month in last six months
  • 131 thousand more unemployed in the space of one year
  • UWV registers fewer jobseekers in farming and technical occupations
  • Many more unemployment benefits stopped as claimants find or return to work

According to the latest figures from Statistics Netherlands, an average 472 thousand people were unemployed in the Netherlands in the period January-March 2010. This is the equivalent of 6.1 percent of the labour force. Twelve months previously this was 4.4 percent. Figures from the Institute of Employment Benefit Schemes, UWVwerkbedrijf, show that the number of unemployment benefits has fallen for the first time in one and a half years. The decrease in March was mainly the result of claimants starting work again. The number of people looking for a job fell by more than average in seasonal engineering and agricultural branches.

Unemployment rises by 8 thousand a month in the last six months

Unemployment nearly always goes up in the period January-March. After adjustment for seasonal effects, unemployment was 477 thousand in January-March 2010, 6 thousand more than in the previous three month period. Because the figures are based on a sample survey, a longer period gives a more reliable picture. In the last six months, unemployment has risen by around 8 thousand people per month on average. The rise seems to be slowing down, however: in the first half of 2009, unemployment was still rising by around 13 thousand per month.

Fewer people in the north in particular looking for work

The number of people out of work and looking for a job registered at UWVwerkbedrijf fell by 0.5 percent to 524 thousand. In the three northern provinces, where agriculture is strongly represented, the number of people looking for a job fell by more than average. The decrease was largest among lower and medium level agriculture workers. But the number of people looking for a lower level job in the engineering sector also fell substantially. This was mainly caused by an increase in low-level jobs in the construction industry.

Fewer unemployment benefits

As the number of people who stopped claiming unemployment benefit exceeded the number of new claimants, the number of unemployment benefits fell by 3.2 percent in March. The number of new claimants rose by 8 percent to just over 45 thousand, but the number of discontinued benefits rose by 53 percent to 56 thousand. The number of benefits discontinued as claimants  started work again rose substantially: by 66 percent.