The official Dutch unemployment figure reached a new high of 8.1% in March, according to the latest figures from the national statistics office CBS.
In total, 643,000 people are without a job, an average increase of 24,000 a month since the start of the year. The sharpest rise was among people aged 25 to 45, the CBS said.
The unemployment rate has risen steadily for the past 18 months, breaking the 500,000 barrier in mid August for the first time since 1996. Never before have so many people been out of work in the Netherlands, the Volkskrant said.
The number of people claiming unemployment benefit (ww) rose by 3,000 to 360,000.
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