SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The official Dutch unemployment rate fell again slightly to 3.9% in December, as government coronavirus support measures kept people in work.
Some 368,000 people were officially without a job in the Netherlands last month and the total has gone down by an average of 15,000 per month for the previous three months, the CBS figures show.
However, the number of unemployment benefit (ww) claims rose in December for the first time in six months. In all, 9,000 new claims were added month on month, taking the total to 286,000.
The CBS said ww claims always rise in the winter, as work in construction and farming slows. However, the impact has been strengthened by the coronavirus crisis, and there were more new claims from people working in the hospitality sector.
In addition, youngsters were disproportionately affected. The number of ww claims by the under-25s rose from 9,100 at the end of 2019 to 19,500 at the end of last year, a rise of 114%.
Economists expect unemployment to increase sharply as 2021 progresses and more companies go bust or lay off staff, because of the impact of the pandemic and the continued lockdown.