Unprecedented: 332,000 Netherlands jobs disappeared in second quarter


The coronavirus crisis did not only result in a record contraction of the Dutch economy, but also wreaked havoc on the Dutch labor market. In the second quarter, the Netherlands counted 332 thousand fewer jobs than in the previous quarter – an “unprecedented” decrease of 3 percent, Statistics Netherlands reported on Friday.

The stats office added that these figures are still showing a too rosy picture of the actual situation. Because many people were technically still employed in the second quarter, but hardly worked or did not work at all. They continued to receive their salary thanks to government support through the NOW regulation. According to the stats office, the actual number of hours worked decreased by 6.1 percent in the second quarter, compared to the first.

Up until the first quarter of this year, the number of jobs in the Netherlands steadily increased and unemployment decreased every quarter since the low point of the previous crisis in 2014. The coronavirus crisis brought an abrupt end to that. The decrease in jobs in the second quarter basically canceled out the job growth of the past two years, the stats office said.

Despite government measures to prevent it, unemployment rose from 227 thousand unemployed people in the first quarter to 349 thousand in the second. The number of open vacancies decreased by 26 thousand. Those two factors combined increased the tension on the labor market. In the second quarter of this year, there were only 57 open vacancies per 100 unemployed persons.

People with flexible contracts in particular were hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. The number of active workers with a flexible contract decreased by 272 thousand compared to the second quarter of last year. The decrease was visible in almost all groups of flexible workers, though most visible among temporary workers (-70,000) and on-call workers (-50,000).

The number of employees with permanent contracts and self-employed persons, on the other hand, increased compared to last year. But as so many flexible workers lost their jobs, the total number of Netherlands residents with active work decreased compared to last year.

The number of jobs decreased in all sectors except the government and information and communications during the coronavirus crisis.