Shortage of staff, higher demand for goods and services
The number of enterprises with staffing deficits has risen continuously since the start of 2016. At the beginning of Q3 2017, 16 percent of entrepreneurs reported shortages of staff, versus 7 percent one year previously. By contrast, the number of enterprises affected by an insufficient demand for goods and services has seen a steady decline in recent years.
The business services sector suffers most from a shortage of staff: one out of four entrepreneurs in this sector perceive this as an obstacle. The sectors information and communication (especially IT) and construction are facing the same problem, while the sectors retail trade and mineral extraction are less affected with only 5 percent of enterprises understaffed.
The number of unfilled vacancies continued to increase across nearly all sectors in Q2 2017, as previously reported by CBS.
Employment growth expected to continue
For Q3, 22 percent of the entrepreneurs expect an increase and 7 percent a decrease in workforce. Enterprises in the construction sector have the most positive outlook on employment: on balance, 32 percent expect employment to grow in Q3. Expectations regarding staff numbers have improved substantially across nearly all sectors.
Business confidence at high level
The increasing demand for labour is partly related to sustained growth in private sector activities. The business confidence indicator, which measures economic sentiment in the Dutch private sector, stands at 15.9, the highest level since measurements started at the end of 2008. Confidence is highest among entrepreneurs in the construction and wholesale sectors.
Retail trade in particular saw a substantial improvement in business confidence compared to the previous quarter; enterprises in the mineral extraction sector, on the other hand, were more negative.
Aside from increased demand for labour, expectations regarding turnover and investments are also positive. On balance, 12.4 percent of entrepreneurs expect turnover to grow in Q3. The outlook on investments is positive as well (11.3 percent).
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