Fewer jobs lost

  • 147 thousand jobs lost in fourth quarter relative to one year ago
  • Decline only marginally compared to third quarter
  • Fewer jobs lost in private sector, considerably more jobs lost in sector non-commercial services
  • Wage costs rise by 1.9 percent
  • Actual wage increase smaller than CAO wage increase

In the fourth quarter of last year, 147 thousand jobs of employees were lost compared to the fourth quarter of 2008, a reduction by 1.8 percent. Adjusted for seasonal variation, employment decreased by 16 thousand jobs relative to the third quarter. The decrease is considerably smaller than in the preceding three quarters, according to the most recent figures released by Statistics Netherlands.

The sector business services, where more than 100 thousand jobs were lost in twelve months was hit hardest. It mainly concerned temp jobs. Temp agencies, where flexible contracts are common, took the hardest blow, but the sectors manufacturing industry, construction, trade, hotels and restaurants and transport were also faced with loss of employment. Loss of jobs in the private sector is limited due to the introduction of part-time unemployment benefits (WW). The 40 thousand employees who qualify for part-time WW benefits are regarded as full-time workers in the statistics.

In the sector non-commercial services (government, education, care, culture) there is sustained employment growth (69 thousand compared to the fourth quarter of 2008). With 47 thousand, the most substantial growth compared to one year previously was recorded in the health care sector.

Adjusted for seasonal variation, employment declined by 0.2 percent in the third quarter. The decline is much smaller than in the three preceding quarters. While the private sector is performing poorly, the public sector is growing more rapidly than in the preceding quarters. Loss of employment in the fourth quarter occurred while there was evidence of a modest economic recovery.

Wages of employees per labour year were 1.8 percent higher in the fourth quarter than in the same quarter in 2008. The wage increase is the same as in the third quarter. The 1.8 percent wage increase is smaller than the increase in collectively negotiated (CAO) wages of 2.4 percent. Variable wage components like bonuses, remunerations and overtime payments were cut, which plays a part in this respect. Wage costs per labour year including contributions made by employers rose by 1.9 percent, a bit more than wages. Employers’ contributions to pension schemes went up, unemployment and health care contributions were reduced.

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