Unemployment drops to lowest point since 2003
In February, unemployment in the Netherlands fell to its lowest level since 2003. Young people, in particular, found work, reports Statistics Netherlands (CBS). This group relatively often works at companies that had to close during lockdowns and can now open again, like cafes, restaurants, or in the cultural sector.
Last month there were 336,000 unemployed people in the Netherlands, or 3.4 percent of the workforce, the stats office said. That is the lowest figure since 2003 when CBS started keeping track of monthly unemployment. In January, the unemployment rate was 3.6 percent. The number of unemployed fell by an average of 8,000 per month over the past three months, the stats office calculated.
Benefits agency UWV provided 187,600 unemployment benefits last month - 5,300 less than in January. Compared to February 2021, the number of active unemployment benefits fell by over a third.
Last year, the Netherlands had at least 561,000 part-time workers who were immediately available to work more hours, according to CBS. These workers formed part of the untapped labor potential. About 6 percent of the labor force last year was a part-time worker who could have worked more hours. According to CBS, the unused labor potential has been declining for years. In 2014, it was still 2.1 million.
It is increasingly difficult for employers to fill vacancies. According to UWV labor market expert Rob Witjes, this offers opportunities for Netherlands residents who have been looking for work for a long time. Due to the tight labor market, employers are less strict about the necessary diplomas and skills, which may lead to faster hiring. "The professional knowledge can then be learned on the shop floor and through training or education."
Reporting by ANP.