The number of vacancies increased marginally in the fourth quarter of 2004, according to the most recent figures published by Statistics Netherlands. After adjustment for seasonal effects, there were 128 thousand unfilled vacancies on 31 December 2004, that is 2 thousand up on the third quarter.
At the end of 2000 the number of vacancies reached a record high of 213 thousand. Subsequently, the number of vacancies dropped to 92 thousand at the end of September 2003. Then it began to rise again and continued to do so for five consecutive quarters. The average quarterly growth was 7 thousand. In the third and fourth quarter of 2004, however, the growth rate slowed down. The increase in the fourth quarter was only 2 thousand.
Increase in commercial services
There was a noticeable rise in the number of vacant jobs in commercial services. At the end of 2004 this sector had 75 thousand vacancies, 3 thousand more than in the previous quarter. In the sectors manufacturing industry, non-commercial services and agriculture the number of vacancies hardly changed.
Revival of the labour market
In the fourth quarter of 2004 the labour market was more dynamic, just like in the two preceding quarters. This becomes evident from the increase in the number of jobs created and the number of vacancies filled, compared to one year previously. In the fourth quarter of last year, 176 thousand vacancies were created, 24 thousand more than in the fourth quarter of 2003. The number of filled vacancies was 26 thousand up on twelve months ago. A total of 165 thousand vacancies were filled in the fourth quarter of 2004.
Higher vacancy rate
The vacancy rate is defined as the number of unfilled vacancies per 1,000 jobs. It is an indicator for the tension on the labour market. At the end of the fourth quarter of 2004, there were 18 unfilled vacancies for every 1,000 jobs, 4 more than twelve months ago. For the third quarter running, the vacancy rate is higher than one year previously. In all sectors except transport and culture, the vacancy rate was higher.
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