Netherlands showed strong decrease in unemployment last quarter
Some 334,000 Dutch residents were unemployed in the first quarter of this year, which is 50,000 fewer compared to the previous quarter. At the same time, the number of unfilled vacancies rose by 26,000 compared to the previous three-month period, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS).
That represented the sharpest quarter-to-quarter fall in the unemployment rate since 2003, when the CBS started measuring it, with many people finding a way to re-enter the workforce. The CBS defines someone as unemployed if they are without paid work, have recently looked for work, and are immediately available to take up a job. About 36 percent of the net decrease in unemployment was due to people who stopped looking for a job altogether.
According to CBS chief economist Peter Hein van Mulligen, it’s also partly because many sectors managed to survive the coronavirus crisis relatively well. "In addition, before the pandemic, there was a lot of tightness in the labor market. Many companies are therefore cautious about laying off employees, because it may be very difficult for them to find new staff," he told Nu.nl.
At the end of March, there were some 245,000 open vacancies, which is 26,000 more than at the end of the previous quarter. It was the first time in 24 years that so many vacancies have been added in three months. Most jobs seem to be available in the trade and healthcare sectors, 44,000 and 38,000 respectively.
"For every 100 unemployed, there were 73 vacancies in the first quarter. In the previous quarter there were 57," the CBS noted in its statement.
At the same time, some 69,000 jobs were also lost from January through March this year. That occurred most dramatically across the hotel and catering industry, the cultural sector and transport companies, among others. These industries are also considered to be some of the worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Van Mulligen also explained that a significant number of foreign workers have returned to their home countries since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, they are no longer counted in the unemployment figures.