Unemployment drops to lowest point since 2003
Last month, 327,000 people in the Netherlands were unemployed, or 3.3 percent of the working population, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reported. That's the lowest unemployment rate since the stats office started keeping track of monthly figures in 2003.
The number of unemployed fell by an average of 14,000 per month in the last three months. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, between February and July 2020, the unemployment rate rose from 4.0 to 5.5 percent. After that, unemployment declined almost continuously to 3.3 percent in March.
Another 3.4 million people did not have paid work but are not considered unemployed because they aren't actively looking for a job or aren't available to start immediately. CBS does not count them as part of the working population. Their number fell by an average of 22 thousand per month in the last three months.
The number of Netherlands residents with paid work increased by an average of 37 thousand per month in the past three months. The Netherlands now counts 9.5 million people with paid work.
At the end of March, benefits agency UWV paid out 184,000 unemployment benefits - 3,600 less than at the end of February, a decrease of 1.9 percent. Compared to March 2021, the number of active unemployment benefits fell by 98,000, or 34.8 percent.
The decrease was most visible in the hospitality sector and agriculture. Restaurants and other hospitality businesses were allowed to reopen fully as most coronavirus restrictions disappeared. In agriculture, the season plays a vital role in the decrease of unemployment benefits, the stats office said.