Unemployment in Utrecht
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The impact of economic recession is still being felt in Utrecht as is evident from the recent unemployment data. The municipality of Utrecht, like in all other provinces, has a department called Werk en Inkomen (Work and Incomes). This department is responsible for rolling out social security in the form of financial assistance to unemployed Dutch citizens. The department also reskills and reintegrates the unemployed back into the labor market. The municipality publishes quarterly report on important trends based on social security benefits data gathered from Werk en Inkomen. As per the recent report, a 7% rise in unemployment is recorded in Utrecht during the first half of the year, compared with the same period last year. In absolute terms, 9111 Dutch Utrechters were on unemployment benefits between January and June this year, compared to 8521 last year. This is based on the number of applications received for unemployment benefits from Werk en Inkomen. The good news, however, is this number is not expected to raise substantially any further.
In order to contain the impact of the economic crisis, debt counselling services are offered through an organization called Schulddienstverlening. This organization provides financial counselling, so people don’t incur debt beyond their capabilities and also develop habits to cut costs in their daily activities. Number of people opting for this service too is an indicator of the level of crisis, although an indirect measure. The municipality reported reduction in the number of Utrechters availing this debt counselling services. This could, then, mean either of the two aspects. One, people are refraining from incurring debts beyond their financial means, which helps to prevent escalating economic crisis. The other possibility could be that people just don’t avail debt counselling services for whatsoever the reason. In either case, recession still seems to persist and the government has to bear its financial and social costs for at least until the end of this year.