Unemployment rate continues to rise, hits 7.7% in February

The rise in unemployment shows no sign of abating, with the jobless figure reaching 7.7% in February, the national statistics office CBS said on Thursday.

In January, the unemployment rate reached 7.5%, up from 7.2% in December. The new figures mean a record 613,000 people are without a job. It is the first time since 1984 the jobless total has gone over 600,000, the NRC said.

In a reaction, social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher said the new figures show the need for a broad agreement between the government, unions and employers on boosting job opportunities.

The rise in unemployment is ‘unbelievably difficult’ for those affected, the minister said.

In particular, youth unemployment is seen as a major issue. Employers have already been asked to do more to create internships and apprenticeships to help people get back into work. Asscher said he is prepared to pay towards this under certain conditions.

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