Netherlands unemployment drops below 5 pct.

Unemployment in the Netherlands dropped to 4.9 percent of the labor force in June, Statistics Netherlands announced on Thursday. This is the first time since the summer of 2011 that less than 5 percent of the labor force are unemployed.

Over the past three months the number of unemployed people in the Netherlands fell by an average of 6 thousand per month to 446 thousand in June. The number of people with paid work increased by an average of 11 thousand per month over that same period.

In June youth unemployment was also below the 2011 level, 8.9 percent compared to 9.5 percent. Though the unemployment rate among over 45-year-olds was still higher, 4.7 percent compared to 4.1 percent.

 At the end of June, benefits agency UWV paid 372 thousand unemployment benefits. Compared to June 2016, the number of unemployment benefits decreased with more than 15 percent. The number of unemployment benefits paid to the construction injury dropped by a massive 43 percent, according to the stats office. 

In the first half of 2017 the UWV paid 208 thousand new benefits, 20.7 percent fewer than the first half of 2016. The number of new benefits declined in almost all sectors, most significantly in the construction industry and wholesale retailers. Only the banking sector saw an increase in unemployment benefits - plus 19 percent compared to 2016.

Minister Lodewijk Asscher of Social Affairs and Employment is delighted with the new figures. "This is another great milestone in combating unemployment, but especially great for all those who have found a job", he said to news wire ANP.