According to the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB), an average of 13 percent fewer hours a week were worked at the end of March than at the beginning of March. Due to the intelligent lockdown, the drop in the number of hours worked was greater than in previous recessions.
In the catering, retail, transport and culture sectors in particular, the number of hours worked fell sharply. It also appears that the decline among self-employed workers, who are overrepresented in these sectors, was more pronounced than among employees. The number of hours worked by women also fell more than that of men, according to the CPB, which also notes that the decrease in hours worked has stabilized in April.
The impact on employment has remained limited for the time being. The working population has not shrunk very much recently, the CPB notes. This is partly due to the special policy measures. In the meantime, 114,000 companies with 1.7 million employees have applied for the NOW support scheme and approximately 350,000 self-employed people use the Tozo scheme. This means that the employment of over 20 percent of the 9.5 million working people in the Netherlands is currently financially supported by the government.
CPB experts indicate that it is now clear that this is not a “V-shaped crisis” with a rapid recovery. A factor in this is that certain contact-limiting measures will remain in effect for a long time to come. Unemployment is likely to rise sharply, both due to declining labor demand and a large shift in personnel from shrinking industries to other sectors. However, it is still unknown how much unemployment will increase. CPB chooses to publish monthly reports on developments in the labor market in the coming period.
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