Jobless benefit claims rise

The number of claims for unemployment benefit (ww) is going up by ‘thousands’ a week social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner said during a parliamentary debate on the credit crisis on Wednesday.

Over the first two weeks of this year, the number of new claims has reached around 26,000, the minister said. The normal rate is around 5,000 a week.
New figures from the national statistics office CBS on Thursday also show that unemployment is beginning to rise.
Between October and December an average of 285,000 people were officially without work, slightly up on the previous quarter. This brings three years of declining unemployment figures to an end, the CBS said.
Over 2008 as a whole, an average of just over 300,000 people were officially jobless out of a working population of 7.4 million, the CBS said.

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