More people unemployed in May; increase slowing down

Unemployment in the Netherlands is still rising, but the increase is slowing down, Statistics Netherlands reported on Thursday. In May 330 thousand Netherlands residents were unemployed - an increase of 16 thousand compared to April and 56 thousand compared to February. The majority of the newly unemployed, 38 thousand, were under the age of 25 years old.

The Netherlands unemployment rate stood at 3.6 percent of the working population in May, the same level as at the start of 2019. In March the unemployment rate was still 2.9 percent. It increased to 3.4 percent in April.

Benefits agency UWV paid a total of 301 thousand active unemployment benefits at the end of May, 61 thousand more than at the end of February. In March the number of unemployment benefits rose by over 10 thousand, in April by almost 42 thousand, and in May by 9 thousand. "This means that the increase in the number of unemployment benefits continues. The increase is smaller in May than in April," the stats office said.

42 thousand of the unemployment benefits paid in May were new benefits. That is less than the nearly 74 thousand new benefits in April. In March, when the coronavirus crisis really hit the Netherlands and the government implemented its intelligent lockdown, there were 37.8 thousand new benefits.

The number of people with paid work decreased by 201 thousand since February. The decline was particularly high among young people, with 139 thousand people under the age of 25 losing their jobs since the start of the crisis. Not everyone who lost their paid work is considered unemployed. The stats office considers you unemployed if you have no paid work, are actively looking for a job, and are available to start immediately. 

While the increase in unemployment may be slowing down, it is not yet over. Earlier this week central planning office CPB said that unemployment will likely rise to 5 percent this year and 7 percent next year. If there is a second wave of coronavirus infections, triggering another lockdown, unemployment could spike to 10 percent.