Over 100 thousand jobs lost

In the first quarter of 2004 there were 107 thousand employee jobs less than in the first quarter of 2003. This means that job losses reached 1.4 percent. For the first time the number of women’s jobs was down on the previous year. There were 153 thousand fewer jobs in the private sector. The number of jobs in government and care was up 46 thousand. The wage cost increase per employee fell to 2.6 percent, according to the latest figures by Statistics Netherlands.

Each year the figures on jobs and wage costs of the previous three years are adjusted on the basis of more and better information.

Jobs in private sector down by 3 percent

Two thirds of all employee jobs in the Netherlands are in the private sector. In the first quarter of 2004 there were over 4.9 million private sector jobs. This means 153 thousand less than the year before, or a 3 percent decrease. Public sector job losses are still on the increase.

Construction saw the greatest drop in employment, with 5.4 percent. Jobs in the Dutch manufacturing industry and commercial services were down by about 3.5 percent. The decrease of employment in trade and repairs was modest in comparison with 1.9 percent.

Job loss in public government for the first time

After years of job increases in public government, the first quarter of 2004 saw a 0.2 percent decrease. The only job increases were found in health and social care and education. These branches had 40 and 8 thousand more jobs in the first quarter respectively than the year before. However the growth rate is levelling off: in 2003 the branches still saw job increases of 57 and 14 thousand.

Fewer jobs for women

In the first quarter of 2004 the number of jobs for women was down by 0.5 percent on the year before. It is the first time that the number of jobs for women was falling. Men’s jobs, which had started to fall earlier, were down by 2.2 percent. In recent years employment of women continued to grow due to rising employment in education and care. These are female dominated branches.

Fast drop in fulltime employment 

Employment expressed in fulltime jobs was down by 1.8 percent on the first quarter of 2003. So employment measured in fulltime equivalents is falling faster than the number of jobs. This is because job growth is concentrated in branches where part-time employment is prevalent. An increasing number of jobs are part-time jobs.

Wage costs increasing less

The wage costs per fulltime equivalent job in the first quarter of 2004 were on average 2.6 percent higher than a year earlier. The growth rate fell substantially. In 2002 wage costs increased by 6.2 and in 2003 by 3.9 percent. The lowest wage costs increase was in construction, namely 0.6 percent. The highest was in financial institutions and agriculture, namely about 4 percent.

The collective (CAO) wage increase fell sharply. In the first quarter of 2004 CAO wages increased by 1.8 percent, compared to an average of 3.7 in 2002 and 2.8 percent in 2003.

Adjusted figures don’t change the overall picture

In July the figures of the three previous years are adjusted on the basis of more and better information. This is now done for 2001, 2002 and 2003. There is no change in the overall picture of the labour market. In 2001 the number of jobs grew by less than estimated earlier, because the estimate for the number of small jobs was downwardly adjusted. There is hardly any change in the growth rate of fulltime equivalents. The labour volume did not increase in 2002, in contrast to what was published earlier. This is because the percentage of part-time increased more than estimated earlier.

The wage costs increase per fte for 2002 after adjustment reached 6.2 percent instead of the 4.9 percent published earlier. One major cause is the adjustment of employer contributions to pensions. 

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