Unemployment falls across all Netherlands provinces

In the third quarter unemployment was down in all provinces in the Netherlands, compared to the same quarter three years ago, Statistics Netherlands announced on Friday. On the same day Amsterdam announced that municipal program Participate Work found work for 3 thousand long-term unemployed people so far this year.

In the third quarter of this year 5.6 percent of the Dutch labor force were unemployed. Groningen had the highest unemployment rate at 7.1 percent, Zeeland the lowest at 3.5 percent. Despite the fact that unemployment decreased across the Netherlands, the unemployment level is still higher than before the econmic crisis hit in 2008. 

The number of vacancies increased in all provinces. In the third quarter of 2016 there were 159 thousand vacancies in the Netherlands, an increase of 70 percent compared to the third quarter of 2013. 

The tension on the labor market - the number of vacancies compared to the number of unemployed people - also increased throughou the country. This means that the number of unemployed per vacancy decreased.  The labor market was tightest in Zeeland, where the number of vacancies and the number of unemployed were almost equal. The labor market in Zuid-Holland had the most room with five unemployed per vacancy. 

Employment participation increased in most provinces compared to the third quarter of 2013, increasing most in Zeeland and Noord-Holland.

This year Amsterdam decided to change its approach to long-term unemployment in the city, and the new approach is bearing fruit, the city announced on Friday. Over 3 thousand long-term unemployed people are now again participating in society. "Participating s important for everyone. Especially for people who have no prospect of a paid job." alderman Arjan Vliegenhart said in a press release. 

The city changed its approach from "shortest route to paid work" to "maximum social return" this year, in the belief that it is best for the city if all its inhabitants makes best use of his or her potential. So the people working for Participating Work changed their tones to be friendlier and worked on speaking to more people a day. 

Until September 5,100 long-term unemployed people were approached and over 3 thousand of them were matched with an appropriate place. They work on various activities, such as preparing neighborhood meals, following a computer or language course or volunteering in a nursing home.