Slowdown in job losses

In the third quarter of 2004 there were 109 thousand employee jobs less than in the third quarter of 2003. In the second quarter of 2004 the number of job losses was 119 thousand.

The private sector had 124 thousand jobs less than in the third quarter of 2003, but the number of jobs in government and care was up by 15 thousand. The increase in wage costs per employee rose slightly to 2.1 percent, according to the latest figures by Statistics Netherlands.

The seasonally corrected figures on jobs in the third quarter shows that the negative growth in employment is clearly less than in the second quarter. There were more temp jobs, which accounts for a job increase in business services by 1.1 percent.

Fewer job losses in the private sector

The private sector had 124 thousand  jobs less in the third quarter of 2004 than the year before. This is a 2.3 percent decrease. In the second quarter the year-on-year decrease was 148 thousand jobs. Negative job growth was reduced especially in financial and business services.

The largest drop in employment was the 4.6 percent observed in construction. Dutch manufacturing saw a job decrease of 3.5 percent. Job losses in financial services and business services were relatively small, with 0.7 and 1.3 percent respectively.

Growth slowing down in care and education, negative growth in government

Dutch health care, welfare and education were the only branches in the third quarter that still had positive year-on-year growth in jobs. Care had 20 thousand and education 4 thousand more jobs than in the third quarter of 2003. The growth rate is levelling off though, because in 2003 the number of jobs increased by 57 in care and 14 thousand jobs in education. The many years of positive growth in the number of government jobs ended at the start of 2004. In the third quarter there were 9 thousand jobs less than the year before.

Employment in full-time jobs slowing down less

Employment in full-time job equivalents was down by 1.7 percent in the third quarter of 2004. This is not as fast as in previous quarters. However, the loss in employment is greater in fulltime equivalents than it is in jobs. This is because branches with many part-time workers, such as care, are doing better than branches with few part-time workers.

After years of stagnation, labour productivity increased strongly, due to the continuous decrease in labour volume and the modest recovery of production.

More temp jobs reduces quarter-on-quarter job losses

In the third quarter of 2004 there were 13 thousand jobs less than in the second quarter. This decrease is not as big as in the previous quarter. Because there were more temp jobs, business services saw jobs in the branch switch from a 0.4 percent decreases into a 1.1 percent increase. The remarkable job increase in the temporary job agencies branch signals that the economic recovery increases demand for labour in a number of enterprises. Employers currently meet this demand by using the temp agencies.

Wage costs up slightly due to higher premiums

Dutch wage costs per working year increased by 2.1 percent on the third quarter of 2003. The increase is slightly higher than in the previous quarter because of the rise in premiums payable under the Industrial Disablement Act (WAO). In 2002 the wage cost increase was 6.2 percent while in 2003 it was 3.9 percent.

There is not much difference in the wage cost increase between the branches of industry. The sector hotels and restaurants had the lowest wage cost increase with 1.0 percent, financial institutions the highest with 3.1 percent.

The main cause for the lower wage cost increases is the moderate wage increase in collectively negotiated wages (CAO). In the third quarter of 2004, the CAO wages rose by 1.1 percent, compared to the average wage increases of 3.7 percent in 2002 and 2.8 percent in 2003.

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