Netherlands unemployment drops below pre-crisis levels

The number of unemployed people in the Netherlands decreased to 326 thousand in November. That means that 3.5 percent of the Dutch labor force are unemployed, slightly lower than before the outbreak of the financial crisis at the end of 2008, Statistics Netherlands reported on Thursday.

Statistics Netherlands considers someone to be unemployed if he or she does not have paid work, is actively looking for work, and is available to start immediately. Over the past three months the number of unemployed people declined by an average of 9 thousand per month.

The Netherlands also counts 3.8 million people who don't have paid work, but aren't looking for work or are not available to start immediately. They are not counted in the unemployment rate. This number decreased by an average of 6 thousand per month over the past three month. In November nearly 8.9 million people in the Netherlands had paid work.

Benefits agency UWV saw the number of active unemployment benefits decrease by 2 thousand to 267 thousand last month.

Minister Wouter Koolmees of Social Affairs and Employment called these figures nice news to conclude 2018, NOS reports. "And hopeful for everyone who is still looking. Employers are jumping for extra hands", he said.