After correction for seasonal effects, 152 thousands jobs were vacant by the end of March 2009, i.e. a reduction by nearly 50 thousand relative to the end of December 2008. A decrease of the same magnitude was already observed in the fourth quarter of 2008. As a result, the number of job vacancies was reduced by nearly 40 percent over the past six months.
The most substantial drop in job vacancies was observed in the private sector. The decline was particularly obvious in commercial services. This sector faced a reduction of vacancies by nearly 30 thousand compared to the end of December 2008. In manufacturing industry and construction, the number of vacancies also dropped considerably. The decrease was only marginal in the public sector.
The vacancy rate is indicative of the degree of shortage on the labour market. It is defined as the number of vacancies per thousand jobs. By the end of March, there were 19 vacancies in every thousand jobs, as against 32 one year previously. The most substantial decline from 54 to 21 occurred in the construction sector. In manufacturing industry, the sector hotels and restaurants and in transport and communication, the vacancy rate also dropped significantly.
The labour market was far less dynamic than in the preceding quarters. In the first quarter, 187 thousand new vacancies were created, i.e. 88 thousand fewer than twelve months previously. This is the smallest number of newly created vacancies in half a decade. The number of filled and cancelled vacancies amounted to 221 thousand, 45 thousand down on the first quarter of 2008.
Job vacancies, seasonally adjusted