Long term unemployment rate goes down, but older workers still hardest hit

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There was a slow decline in the number of people who have been unemployed for more than two years in the first three months of this year, the national statistics office CBS said on Monday.

Some 40% of the long-term jobless are over the age of 55 and this group in particular is finding it hard to get back into work, the CBS said.

‘The economy is performing well again and companies are taking on more staff,’ labour market professor Bas van der Klaauw told the Volkskrant. ‘But they prefer youngsters and people who have not been out of work too long. If you lose your job now, you are going to get a new job more quickly.’

At the end of March, 182,000 people had been out of work for a year or more, 50,000 down on a year ago. But the number of people who had been out of work for more than two years actually rose from 129,000 to 137,000 between 2014 and 2016, the CBS said.

‘Employers are afraid about the cost of employing older workers, who they think are more likely to be off sick than younger employees. But this is not the case,’ Erasmus University professor Jan van Ours told the paper. ‘Older workers are not more likely to be ill and there are all sorts of schemes to stimulate companies to take on older staff.’

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