Dutch unemployment hits lowest level since May; Many stopped looking for work
Despite the macroeconomic problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment figures fell for the third straight month in the Netherlands. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) said that 378 thousand people were without a job, about four percent of the workforce, the lowest total since May.
The falling unemployment figures are "a bit mysterious, but positive," said CBS Chief Economist Peter Hein van Mulligan to NOS. "More people have started working in call centers for contact research and we are seeing more employment elsewhere as well."
However, after a net increase of 40 thousand people obtained a job in October, that figure dropped to 29 thousand in November. It was not yet known how the reintroduction of a lockdown in December would impact unemployment at the end of the year, but the percentage of unemployed was predicted to top six percent.
Also, many people, particularly those in the country who are younger, have stopped searching for a job. In many cases that means they are no longer counted as unemployed. Since the end of the summer, 192 thousand stopped working and left the workforce, with 145 thousand saying they were not looking for work.
About 276 thousand were paid unemployment benefits by the UWV in November, about two thousand fewer than in October.
Although there were some improving figures, the official unemployment total was still 38 percent higher than before the coronavirus pandemic hit the Dutch economy. In February, 274 thousand people were counted as being without a job.