Ethnic minority unemployment falls but still far outstrips native Dutch

The unemployment rate among people with a ‘non-western’ background fell by over three percentage points from its peak in 2014 to 13.2% last year, the national statistics office CBS said on Monday.

However, the jobless rate remains higher among second generation immigrants, falling from a peak of 17.8% in 2014 to 14.3% last year, the CBS said. Under first-generation non-western immigrants the jobless rate is 12.5%.

The Netherlands official jobless rate has recently fallen to just below 5%.

The CBS says the difference between first and second generation immigrants is largely due to age, because the unemployment rate among youngsters in general is higher than for older adults. However, a larger percentage of second-generation immigrants have higher school-leaving qualifications than their parents, the organisation points out.

In terms of labour market participation, over 60% of second generation immigrants have some form of work, compared with 66% of the native Dutch.

The figures follow International Labour Organisation guidelines and cover people aged 15 to75 who don’t have a paid job but have recently looked for work and are immediately available.


Research by the government’s socio-cultural advisory body SCP published last December shows that non-western migrants a are more likely than the native Dutch to have a temporary or flexible contract.

This is partly due to lower levels of education and limited work experience. ‘But other factors are also an issue,’ researcher Willem Huijnk said at the time.

‘These include different social networks, cultural competencies and discrimination by employers.’ At the same time, the number of second-generation ethnic minority immigrants with a top level job has gone up to 23%, compared with 15% at the beginning of this century, the SCP research showed.

The CBS defines non-western immigrants as people from Africa, Asia, Turkey and south America, excluding the Japanese and Indonesians.

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