Slight job increase

  • 23 thousand jobs more in the first quarter of 2009 than the year before
  • quarter-on-quarter decrease in job numbers for the first time in 3 years
  • rise in labour costs reduced to 1.7 percent
  • great differences in labour cost increase per sector

In the first quarter of 2009 there were 23 thousand more jobs of employees than in the same quarter of 2008. This brought the number of jobs to 7.9 million, and constitutes the lowest increase since 2005.

The number of jobs decreased in comparison with the preceding quarter. Taking the seasonal influences into account there were 31 thousand fewer jobs in the first quarter of 2009 than in the fourth quarter of 2008. This is the first decrease in over three years. The labour costs per fte were 1.7 percent higher than one year previously according to the latest figures by Statistics Netherlands.

The number of jobs in the first quarter was up by 0.3 percent on one year before. This increase is substantially lower than in the previous twelve quarters. There were more jobs in care and in trade. The number of employed temp workers fell sharply. There were slight decreases in the manufacturing industry, agriculture, hotels and restaurants, in transport and among financial institutions. Compared to the fourth quarter, however, the number of jobs of employees shrank by 0.4 percent. This is the first negative growth after three years of positive growth in jobs. Employment only grew in care and in the rest of the collective sector. Employment fell in the private sector, particularly among temp workers, in hotels and restaurants, the manufacturing industry and in transport. The economic downturn did not lead to equivalent job losses in the first quarter of 2009. Employment in the Netherlands only reacts to economic changes with some delay.

The wages of employees per fte were up by 1.7 percent in the first quarter on the first quarter of 2008. This is considerably less than the 3.5 percent increase in the collective wages (CAO) in the same period and also substantially less than the wage increase in the previous quarters. The huge spread in wage increases among the sectors is remarkable. The fact that the actual increase in wages lags behind the collective (CAO) wage increase is mainly due to the reduction in variable elements such as bonuses and profit sharing, especially in the financial sector. Income from overtime was also cut, as was the case in the manufacturing industry and the transport sector. The wage increase was particularly large in education because of the one-off payment of the wage increases of the previous months. The labour costs per fte, which also include employers’ contributions, also increased by 1.7 percent just like the wages. Pension premiums payable by employers increased while their premiums for unemployment and health insurance decreased.

The figures on jobs and wages of the previous three years have been adjusted, as usual, on the basis of more and better information. The adjustment in job growth is minor as job growth for 2008 ends up 0.1 percent lower. The wage increases are slightly higher in each year. This also has its effect on a higher increase in labour costs.

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