Dutch unemployment levels fell in December despite national lockdown
In spite of the strict coronavirus measures in place across the Netherlands since October, and the hard lockdown introduced on December 14, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has reported that the Dutch unemployment rate fell to 3,9 percent in the final month of 2020.
Unemployment in the Netherlands at 3,9 percent
In December, a total of 368.000 people in the Netherlands were registered unemployed (3,9 percent) - 10.000 fewer than in November (4 percent). December, therefore, marked the fourth consecutive month in which the unemployment rate fell. In August, when unemployment reached its highest level of the year, 426.000 people were unemployed (4,6 percent).
The number of unemployed people rose by around 66.000 between December 2019 and December 2020. CBS notes that young people have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, as they tend to have flexible contracts for work in the sectors most affected by the lockdowns.
Dutch government’s financial support was vital
While this news may sound promising, it is worth noting that the unemployment rate at the start of 2020 was significantly lower - January, February, and March 2020 saw the Dutch unemployment rate at the lowest it had been in over a decade, with “only” 273.000 people registered as unemployed in March.
Furthermore, while unemployment may have fallen, the Employee Insurance Agency Netherlands (UWV) recorded a rise in the number of people making use of unemployment benefits in December. As 2020 drew to a close, 286.000 people in the Netherlands were claiming unemployment benefits. But the UWV notes that an increase is common over the winter months.
CBS does observe that the situation could have been even worse if not for the financial support provided by the Dutch government. Between October and December, the government’s NOW3 package covered the salaries of around 1,3 million people. CBS believes that, when the financial support comes to an end, unemployment and the number of registered bankruptcies will rise.