CPB: ‘historic decline’ hours worked, no rapid recovery from crisis

According to the cabinet’s auditors, an average of 13 percent fewer hours per 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 sharply than that of men, according to the CPB, which also notes that the decrease in hours worked has stabilized in April.

No quick recovery

Because the restrictive measures to control the virus will remain in effect for a long time, the economy will not recover quickly. CBP expects that this will not be a so-called V-shaped crisis (a rapid downward trend, but also a rapid recovery). And so unemployment will rise sharply.

This is simply because there is less demand for personnel at companies because of the crisis, and because people who no longer have a job in their old sector will try to switch to another job. It is still unclear how much unemployment will rise.

Government assistance

At the moment it is still not too bad, because of the billions of government support to companies to prevent mass layoffs. In total, 114,000 companies, employing some 1.7 million people, have asked for help through the NOW scheme. In addition, the government takes over part of the wage costs from companies that generate less turnover due to the crisis measures.

There is also help for the self-employed, 350,000 people have already used it. Added together, this concerns more than 20 percent of the working population who are already financially supported by the government.


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