Dutch heads EU jobless league table
2 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands has the fastest growing unemployment rate in the EU, rising by one-third over 12 months, statistics bureau Eurostat said on Tuesday.
According to European measures, employment in the Netherlands rose from 3 percent in December 2002 to 4.3 percent in December 2003, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.
Other EU member states recorded a small rise in their unemployment rates, reporting a maximum 1 percent rise in their respective jobless rates. In Britain and Spain, the jobless rate marginally declined.
But the Dutch unemployment figure remains on the low side compared with other EU countries. The average EU jobless rate was 8 percent in January 2004, slightly higher than the 7.9 percent figure in January 2003.
In the 12-nation eurozone, average unemployment was at 8.8 percent in January, compared with 8.7 percent in the same month a year ago.
Eurostat did not give any reasons for the comparatively stronger rise in unemployment in the Netherlands, but the European Commission said in January that Dutch economic confidence was the lowest across the entire EU.
Moreover, Dutch economic growth is expected to lag behind that of other EU nations in 2004, having fallen by 0.8 percent over the 12 months of 2003.
But despite the stagnation last year, the economy pulled out of a nine-month recession by recording positive Gross Domestic Growth (GDP) in the last two quarters of the year.
Meanwhile, the Dutch Central Bureau Of Statistics (CBS) said last month unemployment rose to 444,000 or about 5.9 percent of the working population between November and January.
The number of unemployed workers is 126,000 higher than the same period a year ago, when 4.3 percent of the 7 million-strong workforce was without a job, the CBS said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news