Over 200K long-term unemployed in the Netherlands; Double 2008 figures

Looking for a job
. ()

Last year the Dutch labor market was recovered from the economic crisis in many aspects, though labor participation was still lower than in 2008 before the outbreak of the crisis, according to figures Statistics Netherlands released on Wednesday. In 2016 the number of unemployed people was still 1.5 times higher than in 2008, the number of people in long-term unemployment was over twice as high.

By the end of 2016 a total of 538 thousand people in the Netherlands were unemployed, 1.5 times more than in 2008. Compared to before the crisis, the number of long term unemployed people - unemployed for a year or longer - increased most significantly. Last year a total of 216 thousand people in the Netherlands were unemployed for more than a year, compared to 95 thousand in 2008.

On many other fronts, the labor market figures finally topped pre-crisis levels last year. The number of jobs reached a new record, and in the last quarter of 2016 more people were working in the country than ever before. The number of open vacancies rose above the long term average - since the second half of 2013 each quarter had an average of over 5 thousand vacancies. 

Despite the total number of employees being bigger in 2016 than in 2008, the net employment rate - the percentage of the working population who have work - was still below pre-crisis levels. Only in the older age group of 55- to 65 years was the labor participation higher than before the crisis. Last year 63 percent of this age group had work, compared to 51 percent in 2008. Statistics Netherlands attributes this to the abolishment or shrinking of early retirement schemes.

Last year was the first time since 2008 that the number of employees with permanent contracts increased. Though the number of employees on temporary or flex contracts increased more. In 2016 more than 61 percent of Dutch employees were employed on a permanent contract, compared to 68 percent in 2008. The proportion flex workers was 22 percent in 2016, compared to 17 percent in 2008, and 12 percent freelancers, compared to 10 percent in 2008.