Unemployment rising faster than in financial crisis

Waiting for a job interview
Waiting for a job interviewPhoto: AllaSerebrina/DepositPhotos

The number of Netherlands residents with paid work fell by 160 thousand to 8.9 million in April, Statistics Netherlands announced on Wednesday. Unemployment increased from 2.9 percent in March to 3.4 percent last month. Young people were most affected.

Both the decrease in working Dutch and the increase in unemployment were the biggest since the stats office started keeping track of monthly figures in 2003. This shows that unemployment is increasing faster in the coronavirus crisis than it did in the financial crisis that hit the world in 2008.

Last month 314 thousand people in the Netherlands were unemployed, 41 thousand more than in March. 25 thousand of the increase were young people. The rest of the people who lost their jobs in April are not considered unemployed, because they were not actively looking for work or were not available to start immediately. The non-working population increased by 124 thousand over the past month.

Benefits agency UWV saw the number of active unemployment benefits increase by 42 thousand to 292 thousand in April. That is 16.7 percent more than in March and 13.5 percent more than in April 2019. The benefits agency issued a massive 74 thousand new unemployment benefits in April, compared to 38 thousand new benefits in March. 

The number of new unemployment benefits increased in all sectors, but most in the cleaning sector, temporary employment agencies, retail, culture and catering. The new benefits also increased in all age groups, but most among young people aged 15 to 25 years. The average number of new unemployment benefits per week in this age group was 75 percent higher in April than in March. 

This may have to do with the fact that many young people have temp or flexible jobs - which tend to be the first jobs cut when a company hits rough waters.