Unemployment drops as Dutch economy takes off
15 June 2006
AMSTERDAM — The average unemployment rate in the Netherlands slipped below 6 percent to 5.8 percent for the period March-May 2006.
Statistics Netherlands (CBS) said this is the first time since 2003 that unemployment was lower than 6 percent. This contrasts with an average unemployment rate of 8 percent in the Eurozone in April.
An average 430,000 people were unemployed in the Netherlands in this period. according to figures published by the CBS. After correction for seasonal effects, the number comes to 418,000. This is 10,000 fewer than in the period February-April 2006.
Seasonally adjusted unemployment has been falling for eight months in succession. The decrease started after the period July-September 2005. Since then, seasonally adjusted unemployment has fallen by nearly 70,000 people.
Youth unemployment has fallen sharply. “The number of unemployed young people fell by 26,000 in the space of one year. In the period March-May 10.6 percent of young people were unemployed, nearly 3 percent points down on one year previously,” the CBS said.
Unemployment also fell in other age groups, but by relatively less. In the period March-May 2006 4.8 percent of the male labour force was unemployed. This is 1.1 percent point lower than one year previously. Among women, too, unemployment was down. The decrease in the space of one year was smaller than for men, at 26,000.
The Centre for Work and Income (CWI) announced earlier this week that the number of job vacancies has increased by 6 percent. Employers notified the jobs centre of 132,347 open vacancies in the first five months of the year.
The CWI received fewer applications from employers for the right to lay off staff during the same period. From January to May, 18,266 requests were filed, a fall of 27 percent compared to a year earlier.
And the macroeconomic think tank CPB revealed an optimistic employment forecast on Thursday. It expects joblessness to decline by 135,000 or 30 percent over the next two years.
According to the CPB figures, leaked last week, the Dutch economy will grow by 3 percent this year. This would put growth in the Netherlands ahead of the Eurozone average for the first time this century. The CPB expects growth to drop back to 2.75 percent in 2007.
The Dutch economy is flourishing on the back of higher consumer spending and exports while the budget deficit is near zero, the CPB said.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news