Job loss increasing to 119 thousand

In the second quarter of 2004 there were 119 thousand employee jobs less than in the second quarter of 2003. This means job losses increased to 1.6 percent. The private sector had 148 thousand fewer jobs than the the year before. Jobs in government and care together were up by 29 thousand. The increase in wage costs per employee was reduced to 1.9 percent, according to the latest figures by Statistics Netherlands.

The quarter-on-quarter developments in the number of jobs, which are published for the first time by Statistics Netherlands, show that the decrease of employment is levelling off slightly.

Less job loss in the private sector

In the second quarter of 2004, the private sector had 148 thousand fewer jobs than the year before, a 2.7 percent decrease. In the first quarter job losses were 54 thousand. It is the first time since 2002, when job losses started,  that job losses in the private sector decreased. Financial and business services and the hotels and restaurants showed a diminished job loss.

The greatest decrease of employment was observed in construction. Business services had almost 3 percent fewer jobs, and industry had 3.6 percent less. In comparison, the loss of employment in the financial services and agriculture was relatively modest with 1 to 1.5 percent.

Slow growth in care and education, negative growth in public government

In the second quarter health and welfare care and education are the only two branches where jobs increased, with 27 and 8 thousand jobs respectively on the year before. The increase is levelling off after a growth rate with 57 and 14 thousand jobs in 2003 respectively. The many years of growth in the number of public government jobs came to an end at the start of 2004. In the second quarter jobs were down by 1 percent.

Fewer jobs for men and women

During the second quarter of this year the number of men’s jobs was down by 91 thousand compared to the second quarter of 2003. Job losses by women reached 27 thousand. For men job losses have been occurring for two years whereas job losses for women started this year. Jobs losses for women are increasing. This is because employment in education and care show diminished growth. These are branches where relatively many women work.

Employment down by 1.8 percent in fulltime jobs

Employment expressed as fulltime jobs was down by 1.8 percent in the second quarter of 2004 on the previous year. The decrease is the same as in the first quarter of 2004. In terms of fulltime job equivalents employment is slowing down faster than in terms of jobs. This is mainly because there are many part-time employees in the branches of industry with growing employment. The share of part-time jobs is increasing in the Netherlands.

After years of stagnation, labour productivity is on the increase again. This is due to the continued decrease in labour volume and a starting recovery of production.

Job loss on quarterly basis diminishing slightly 

In the second quarter of 2004 there were 32 thousand fewer jobs than in the first quarter. The job loss is slightly less than in the previous quarter.

Public sector employment has been falling for several quarters, and there is hardly any growth left in care. On the other had, jobs in commercial services and industry diminished far less. The slight improvement in the development of employment is in line with other signs of improvement in the labour market. Seasonally adjusted unemployment stopped growing in the second quarter and the number of unfilled vacancies increased.

Wage costs increases slowing down

Dutch wage costs per fulltime job were only 1.9 percent higher in the second quarter of 2004 than the year before. The rate of increase fell sharply. The last time such a low wage cost increase occurred was in 1996. In 2002 and 2003 wage costs still increased by 6.2 and 3.9 percent. The slow down in wage cost increases occurred across the board. In hotels and restaurants it was lowest with 0.6 percent, and in financial institutions it was highest with 3.4 percent.

A major cause of the modest wage cost increases was the slowdown in collective (CAO) wage increases. In the second quarter of 2004 the collectively negotiated wages increased by 1.5 percent compared to an average increase of 3.7 in 2002 and 2.8 percent in 2003.

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