Tension on the Dutch labour market remained high in 2008. The period of fast increasing labour shortage seems to be over, though, and the first signs of an increasing labour supply can be seen towards the end of the year. The increase in the number of jobs of employees has slowed down substantially in the course of the year. The fall in the unemployed labour force is smaller than in recent years. The long period of decreasing unemployment even seems to be coming to an end at the close of the year. The number of job vacancies has remained constant at a record high level. The number of temp hours worked has fallen slightly, following a number of years of turbulent growth.
Unemployment, vacancies and temp hours
Labour participation continues to rise. It rose spectacularly among women and among 55 to 65 year-olds. The number of part-time jobs in particular increased. The number of people claiming disability, unemployment and social assistance benefits has fallen further to record low levels. The shortage of workers resulted in faster increases in collectively negotiated wage rates and wage costs than in previous years.
Gross labour participation, 2001 – 2008-III