The total number of people who filed for the unemployment benefits in the European country of Netherlands soared by 42 percent in March with the shutdown of many businesses due to the containment effort related to the spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak.
The Dutch federal employment agency stated on Thursday that it had paid benefits to 37,800 new unemployed in March, which is an increase of 11,200 from the month before. The most increases were among the people who used to work for restaurants and bars and also people under 25 years of age, the agency stated.
Dutch government on March 15 imposed lockdown
The Dutch government on March 15 ordered all restaurants, bars, museums, sports facilities and other public places in the Netherlands to shut down in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. They are to remain shut until at least April 28, and Prime Minister Mark Rutte has repeatedly said this situation will only gradually change after that date, if at all.
To help businesses cope with the economic standstill and to prevent massive layoffs, the Dutch government has said it will cover up to 90 percent of the wage bill of companies who see a significant decline in sales in the coming months.
More than 85,000 companies have already applied for this support. But despite the help, the number of people who lost their jobs in March jumped almost 10 percent from the previous month to around 283,000, Statistics Netherlands said. After almost seven years of uninterrupted economic growth, unemployment in the euro zone's fifth-largest economy had dropped to a historically low level of 2.9 percent in the first quarter of this year.
(With agency inputs)