Fewer jobs again in private sector

There were 143 thousand jobs fewer in the Dutch private sector in the fourth quarter of 2003 than twelve months previously. As the number of jobs in the government and care sectors grew by 68 thousand, the net decrease in the number of employee jobs was 75 thousand. This is 1 percent down on the second quarter of 2002. The increase in wage costs fell to 3.1 percent, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands.

More and more jobs disappearing in the private sector

The number of jobs of employees in the private sector dropped under the 5 million mark in the fourth quarter of 2003. Compared with the forth quarter of 2002 this is a fall of 2.8 percent. Private sector job losses have increased continuously since the second quarter of 2002.

Employment in the construction sector fell by relatively most (-4.9 percent); there were 3 percent fewer jobs in the manufacturing industry and financial and business services, and the decrease was smallest in the sector trade, hotels and restaurants and repairs (-1.7 percent).

Job growth in government and care levelling off

The number of jobs is still increasing in the government and care sectors, but the growth is slowing down. In the space of one year 55 thousand new jobs were created in care and the other non-commercial services, and 13 thousand in the government sector (including education). Job growth in the care sector was slightly lower than the average 64 thousand in the first three quarters of 2003. In the government sector, jobs grew by an average 28 thousand per quarter in the first three quarters of 2003, more than double the increase in the fourth quarter.

The strongly diverging developments in employment in the government sector on the one hand and in the private sector on the other hand, have pushed up the share of government and care in the total number of jobs from 30 percent to 33 percent.

Job growth comes to a halt for women

The number of women’s jobs did increase but by the smallest margin ever: 0.1 percent. The number of men’s jobs fell by 1.9 percent. The difference in the development between men and women is connected with the still increasing female labour participation and with the increase in employment in the care sector, where most employees are women.

Employment falling even faster in fte’s

Measured in terms of full-time equivalents (fte’s), employment was 1.5 percent lower in the fourth quarter of 2003 than in the same quarter in the previous year. In 2002 employment grew by 0.4 percent, while in the preceding years the growth rate was between 1.5 and 3.6 percent. In 2003 employment in fte’s fell faster than in terms of the number of jobs. This is because job growth is concentrated in sectors where many employees work part-time. Many of these positions are occupied by women, who work part-time on a wider scale than men. In terms of fte’s female employment, too, decreased.

Wage costs increase slowing down

Wage costs per labour year were 3.1 percent higher on average in the fourth quarter of 2003 than twelve months previously. In the fourth quarter of 2002 the increase was still 5.0 percent. Since then it has fallen steadily. The increase in wage costs was lowest in the manufacturing industry, at 2.0 percent and highest in the government sector at 4.4 percent; the latter increase was partly caused by the increase in the end-of-year bonuses in the government sector.

The collectively negotiated wage increases were also markedly lower, from an average 3.7 percent in 2002 to 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2003.

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