Unemployment continues to fall in Netherlands

Unemployment in the Netherlands continues to fall. In February a total of 367 thousand people were unemployed, 4.1 percent of the working population. In January it was 4.2 percent. Over the past three months, the number of unemployed people in the Netherlands fell by 10 thousand per month, Statistics Netherlands reported on Thursday.

Some 4.2 million people in the Netherlands do not have paid work, but they are not all considered unemployed. A person is considered unemployed if he or she has no paid work, recently looked for work, and is available to start immediately. Around 3.9 million people have no paid work and haven't been looking for work. This number increased by an average of 4 thousand per month over the past three months. 

A total of nearly 8.7 million 15- to 75-year-olds in the Netherlands had paid work in February. Over the past three months, this number increased by an average of 11 thousand people each month. 

Benefits agency UWV paid a total of 330 thousand active unemployment benefits in February, a decrease of 1.6 percent compared to January. 32 percent of people receiving unemployment benefits have been unemployed for a year or longer - long term unemployment. Compared to February 2016, the number of unemployment benefits decreased by 20.7 percent. 

Despite the improving unemployment figures, the labor participation in the Netherlands is still lower than at the start of the financial crisis. In February 67.2 percent of the Dutch labor force had paid work. Labor participation reached a peak at 68.3 percent in February 2009 and dropped to a low point of 64.4 percent early in 2014. Since then the proportion of the labor force with paid work increased almost every month.