The new, fast vacancy indicator

11/04/2011 15:00

On 11 April 2011 Statistics Netherlands introduced the monthly vacancy indicator. This indicator is representative for the trend in the number of vacancies. It quickly shows which way the trend is moving. The vacancy indicator is based on actual information from the monthly economic surveys conducted by Statistics Netherlands and the Economisch Instituut voor de Bouw (EIB) among Dutch companies. The vacancy indicator pointed at growth in the number of vacancies for the first quarter 2011.

Aim, use and frequency of publication

The new vacancy indicator aims to provide a first indication of the direction in which the absolute number of vacancies has moved in comparison to the same quarter of the previous year. So the vacancy indicator does not provide information about the actual volume of the year-on-year change.

When more entrepreneurs expect vacancies to rise than to fall, then the actual number of vacancies is likely to grow in comparison with the previous year. The vacancy indicator is roughly in line with the actual year-on-year changes of the total number of vacancies and of GDP. The vacancy indicator is published right after the end of the reporting month, so the outcomes provide a fast indication of which way the year-on-year changes of all vacancies are moving.

Representativeness and composition

De vacancy indicator is representative for the entire private sector. The total indicator is calculated with constituent vacancy indicators on the manufacturing industry, construction and commercial services. They represent about 75 percent of the vacancies and 70 percent of domestic production.

These three constituent vacancy indicators are compiled from the outcomes of the economic surveys by Statistics Netherlands and the EIB, using not only the outcomes of personnel size, but also of production, order position, turnover and orders received. Looking for personnel through vacancies is directly related with the quantitative development of these economic variables. In the real economy the actual annual changes more or less match domestic production.

Positive trend in vacancies in the first quarter of 2011

The vacancy indicator improved each month of the first quarter of 2011. This means that the optimists increasingly outnumbered the pessimists. Therefore it is very likely that the year-on-year change of vacancies will be positive in the first quarter.

All economic activities: indicator and realisation of vacancies and GDP

All economic activities: indicator and realisation of vacancies and GDP

More vacancies in the manufacturing industry

In the first quarter of 2011 the vacancy indicator for the manufacturing industry pointed towards vacancy growth, since the optimists among the entrepreneurs formed a growing majority. The first signs of this showed up in the second half of 2010. The improvement went hand in hand with economic growth.

Manufacturing industry: indicator and realisation of vacancies and value added 

Manufacturing industry: indicator and realisation of vacancies and value added

Also more vacancies in construction

In construction the indicator also indicated growth in the first quarter 2011. In the fourth quarter there was a modest increase in the number of vacancies, while there was no growth in gross value added. This is not unusual because in construction the development in vacancies is ahead of economic growth.

Construction: indicator and realisation of vacancies and value added 

Construction: indicator and realisation of vacancies and value added

Vacancy indicator of commercial services also positive

The vacancy indicator of commercial services also indicates a positive development in the first quarter 2011. In January there were as many optimists as pessimists among the entrepreneurs. One month later there were more optimists and in March their percentage increased. The vacancy rate also grew in the fourth quarter, in line with the volume change of the gross value added.

Commercial services: indicator and realisation of vacancies and value added 

Commercial services: indicator and realisation of vacancies and value added

Roberto Wekker