The Dutch population lost 0.4 percent of their purchasing power last year according to Statistics Netherlands. The loss in 2010 was 0.6 percent.
With 1.1 percent, pensioners suffered the most substantial loss of purchasing power in 2011. This is partly due to the fact that many pensions were hardly or not at all indexed to inflation or even lowered. The purchasing power of social security recipients and work disabled people also fell dramatically by 1.0 and 0.8 percent respectively.
The purchasing power of employees improved by 0.5 percent last year. In general, periodical wage increases, job promotion or new jobs contributed more the purchasing power of employees than collective wage negotiations.
The purchasing power of self-employed declined by 0.6 percent, but traditionally there are wide differences within the category of self-employed: in 10 percent of cases, the purchasing power dropped by 34 percent or less, but for another 10 percent the purchasing power improved by 29 percent or more.
Traditionally, the lowest income brackets include many benefit recipients, whose incomes are relatively low. The second lowest income bracket was most seriously affected, losing 1.1 percent of their purchasing power last year. Proportionally, this group includes many retired people with small supplementary pensions.
Only the highest income category saw their purchasing power improve by 0.8 percent. They were mainly employees and a group of self-employed.