In the 1990s business services became the largest sector of Dutch economy in terms of its contribution to the GDP. In particular in 2002 and 2003 the sector was hit hard by the economic recession. Since the beginning of 2004 the sector shows signs of recovery.
Business services account for one fifth of GDP
The contribution of the business services sector to the GDP grew from 14 percent in 1987 to 20 percent in 2003. The process of outsourcing, which started in the early 1990s, played an important part in this respect. More and more companies preferred supporting activities to be carried out by personnel from outside the company rather than by in-house personnel.
Contribution to the GDP by economic activity
The sector business services comprises estate agents, IT, legal and economic services and temp agencies. Temp agencies and IT made a significant contribution to the gross value added of the sector.
Golden years in IT
In the latter half of the 1990s the IT sector boomed: turnover increased by an average 23 percent yearly, value added rose by 20 percent annually in the period 1995-1999 and the number of businesses more than doubled from over 6 thousand in 1995 to 14 thousand in 1999.
Volume growth value added in business services
In the early years of the 21st century the sector was affected by the recession too. From the fourth quarter of 2000 temp agencies made a negative contribution to economic growth. In 2003 this applied to the entire sector excluding estate agent services.
Entrepreneurs more positive
In spite of the recent economic decline in the business services sector, entrepreneurs now see light at the end of the tunnel. In the first two quarters of 2004 more entrepreneurs anticipated a turn for the better in the period to come.
More orders expected in next quarter
Particularly the IT sector seems take a turn for the better. The fourth quarter of 2003 showed a modest turnover increase by 0.4 percent. For the first time in two years entrepreneurs who saw their turnover increase outnumbered those who saw their turnover decrease.