Unemployment in the Netherlands fell sharply in the first quarter of 2021. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, the number of unemployed fell by 50,000.
That is the largest decrease since the start of the measurement in 2003, reports the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).
The decrease is due to the fact that more unemployed people went to work than employed people who lost their job. Unemployment also fell as people stopped looking for a job. Unemployment is determined through polls, where only people who have recently been actively looking for a job and were unable to find work are counted as unemployed.
The Netherlands had 334,000 unemployed in the first quarter. That is 3.6 percent of the working population. Tension in the labor market is increasing
The number of vacancies rose sharply. This increases the tension in the labor market. Staff shortages are particularly acute in the information and communication sector and construction. At the end of March, there were 245,000 vacancies, 26,000 more than in the previous quarter.
The graph below shows that at the end of the first quarter there were 73 vacancies per 100 unemployed, while in the third quarter of 2020 this figure stood at 53 vacancies per 100 unemployed.
Despite the corona crisis and the lockdown in the first quarter, the damage to the labor market appears to be not too bad. This is due to government support measures, which help many companies to continue paying their staff. Statistics Netherlands’ job figures also include the jobs of people who are unable to work or who are less able to work because of the crisis, but who still receive their wages paid.
According to the statistical office, the Netherlands together accounts for almost 10.7 million jobs, of both employees and the self-employed. Compared to the fourth quarter of last year, the job total fell by 69,000. Compared to the first quarter of 2020, there were 221,000 fewer jobs in the first quarter.
Fewer jobs in catering, trade and transport due to lockdown
Job losses in the first quarter of this year were by far the largest in trade, hospitality and transport. The number of jobs in those sectors fell by 48,000. Jobs were also lost in the cultural sector and recreation. These sectors are all affected by the corona crisis. Since the start of the pandemic, travel restrictions have been in place, events have been canceled and lockdowns have largely closed the hospitality industry, museums, theaters and amusement parks.
In the first quarter of 2021, there were 1.7 million employees with a flexible employment relationship, 122,000 less than a year earlier. At the start of the corona pandemic, early last year, the number of flexible employees fell sharply.This is because more flexible workers have been added in some occupations, such as healthcare and construction.