“Exceptionally fast” rise in unemployment, says Dutch stats office

Unemployment in the Netherlands is still rising strongly. In June there were 404 thousand unemployed people in the country, an increase of 74 thousand compared to May and an increase of 131 thousand compared to three months ago, Statistics Netherlands reported on Thursday.

The unemployment rate is "rising exceptionally fast" in this crisis, the stats office said. Last month, 4.3 percent of the work force were unemployed, up from 3.6 percent in May. In November 2008, at the start of the financial crisis, the unemployment rate was also 3.6 percent. Then it took seven months to rise to 4.3 percent. Now it happened from one month to the next.

Unemployment increased most among young people aged 15 to 25 years old, from 9.5 percent in May to 10.7 percent in June. People in this age group are more likely to have temp jobs or flexible contracts. In the age group 25 to 45 years, unemployment increased from 2.9 percent to 3.7 percent, and among over-45-year-olds from 2.2 percent to 2.6 percent.

According to Statistics Netherlands, June's major spike in unemployment can partly be explained by the working population increasing again last month after four months of decline. In the first months of the crisis, the work force decreased significantly. Many people lost their jobs, but relatively few met the definition to be considered unemployed - actively searching for a new job and available to start immediately. 

In June, the work force grew by 119 thousand people as more people actively started looking for work. "Some of them also got back to work, but a larger part became unemployed."

Benefits agency UWV was paying 301 thousand unemployment benefits at the end of June, about the same as in May.