No further fall in job vacancies

The number of job vacancies did not fall further in the fourth quarter of 2003. After correction for seasonal effects, there were 100 thousand job vacancies at the end of December 2003. This is 7 thousand more than in the previous quarter, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands. It is the first time in nearly three years that the number of vacancies did not decrease.

Slight rise in fourth quarter

The number of job vacancies in the Netherlands fell continuously from the first quarter of 2001 to the third quarter of 2003. The rise in the fourth quarter of 2003 has put an end to his decrease, although it is too early to conclude that this is a turning point on the basis of just one quarter.

The increase in the fourth quarter was mainly accounted for by higher job numbers in trade and in business services, where they rose by 4 and 2 thousand respectively.

Lower vacancy rates in health care

The vacancy rate – i.e. the number of vacant jobs per thousand jobs – is an indicator for the tension on the labour market. At the end of 2003 there were 14 vacancies for every thousand jobs, 3 fewer than twelve months previously. These figures are unadjusted for seasonal effects. Vacancy rates were down in nearly all sectors of industry, but especially in health care and welfare, where the rate fell from 19 to 12 per thousand, and in the hotel and restaurant sector where it dropped from 22 to 15 per thousand.

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