The number of jobless people in the Netherlands rose by 12,000 in December, the first increase since May 2014, the national statistics office CBS said on Thursday.
The increase takes the Dutch unemployment total to 642,000, or 8.1% of the working population but that is still 24,000 down on the beginning of last year.
Unemployment fell sharply between May and August and was stable at 8% from September to November.
Employment minister Lodewijk Asscher said in a reaction the figures are disappointing but stressed that government economists predict unemployment will go down again this year.
Reducing the jobless total remains a top government priority, he said. ‘We are working with employers and unions to ensure as many people as possible keep their jobs or find work.’
‘We are also working to ensure people keep more of their wages, so that it pays to have a job,’ he is quoted as saying by the Volkskrant.
In European terms, the Dutch unemployment rate is 6.5%, one of the lowest in the EU.
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