The Dutch unemployment rate continues to fall and has now hit 3.5%, just below the figure before the start of the economic crisis in 2008, national statistics office CBS said on Thursday.
The figures are made up of people who do not have paid work but who are looking for a job and able to start immediately. Their number has fallen by an average of 9,000 a month for the past three months.
Social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees has welcomed the new figures as a good way to close the year. ‘And there is hope for everyone who is looking for work, because employers are keen to bring in extra pairs of hands.’
The labour market participation rate has also reached a new high of 68.4%, the CBS said. This means 68.4% of the working population has some form of job.
Most of this is accounted for by more people working full-time and by part-timers working longer hours, the CBS said.
The sharpest rise is among people working 28 to 35 hours a week – up from 900,000 in 2003 to almost 1.5 million now. The number of part-timers working fewer than 20 hours a week has remained unchanged.