Dramatic surge in those receiving unemployment benefits in March

Dramatic surge in those receiving unemployment benefits in March

The figures released from the Employee Insurance Agency Netherlands (UWV) show that the number of people requesting unemployment benefits rose dramatically in March, due to the coronavirus crisis, which led to the closure of many businesses. Approximately 38.000 people received unemployment benefits in March, which is 42 percent higher than in February.

A spike in unemployment benefits from mid-March

Looking at the figures, the first half of March was the same as usual, but as soon as the social distancing measures came into place in the second half of March, the figures spiked. In mid-March, the largest groups affected were the catering industry and people aged 25 and under.

On Thursday, March 12, Mark Rutte announced that those who can work from home must do so and by March 15, the catering industry was closed, (except for those operating takeaway services) as well as museums, concert halls, fitness clubs, beauty salons and saunas.

The three sectors most affected were catering, temporary employment and culture. There was a 224 percent increase in benefits for those previously employed in the catering industry; 143 percent among those working for temporary employment agencies; and in the cultural sector there are 94 percent more. Meanwhile, there was a 138 percent increase in workers aged 25 and younger who received benefits.

Biggest decline in employment in the Netherlands in six years

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reported that with 69.1 percent of residents in the Netherlands currently employed, this is the lowest level of employment in the Netherlands in six years.

However, the statistics office classifies unemployed people in such a way that the figures are not as they seem: the statistics office's definition of unemployment is a person resident in the Netherlands with no work who is actively looking for a job and available to start immediately. Under this definition, unemployment is 2.9 percent, and this number has not changed since February. 

Rachel Deloughry


Rachel Deloughry

Rachel is a writer, editor and digital content creator, passionate about the arts, culture and lifestyle.

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