Monday 28 September 2020

Unemployment rises by 74,000 in a single month as corona crisis bites

A woman carrying a box of items away from her desk in an office

Unemployment has risen at unprecedented speed. Photo: Depositphotos

The number of people looking for work rose by a record 74,000 in June, latest figures from the statistics agency CBS show.

The total unemployment figure stands at 404,000 or 4.3% of the workforce, putting it back at a level last seen in October 2017. Young people aged between 15 to 25 were hardest hit, as the proportion without a job rose from 9.5% to 10.7%.

In March this year the headline figure had fallen to 273,000 from a peak of 699,000 at the start of 2014.

The surge coincides with the end of the first phase of the Dutch government’s furlough scheme, under which companies were penalised if they laid off staff while receiving state support to pay their wages. Some large employers such as personnel agency Randstad decided not to apply for the second phase, from June to August, so that they could cut their workforce.

Airline KLM, train operator NS, catering firm Sodexo and conference centre RAI Amsterdam have also indicated they intend to shed staff in the coming months.

‘We’ve never seen this before since we started recording the figures monthly in 2003,’ CBS economist Peter Hein van Mulligen told NOS. ‘There is a delayed reaction in unemployment to the shock we saw earlier in the economy as a result of the coronavirus measures.’

The number of people receiving unemployment insurance payouts (WW-uitkeringen) was unchanged in June at 301,000, having surged from 250,00 to 292,000 between March and April.

Van Mulligen said some of the increase reflected the fact that more people are looking for jobs now than at the start of the crisis. The CBS uses the International Labor Organization (ILO) method for calculating unemployment, which takes into account seasonal variation and excludes people who are not actively seeking work.

Graph of unemployment and insurance payouts up to June 2020

Source: CBS

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