Employers had 63 thousand more jobs on offer in the third quarter of 2002 than in the same quarter last year, according to labour market figures just released by Statistics Netherlands. The increase is the net result of two opposing developments: there were 36 thousand fewer jobs in the private sector and 99 thousand more in the government and care sectors.
In terms of full-time jobs the growth in employment has come to a virtual standstill. Employment is now following the economy, which reached near zero growth one year previously. The increase in wage costs was slightly smaller in the third quarter at 4.6 percent.
Fewer jobs in manufacturing and business services
The number of jobs in the private sector, all private companies minus government and care, fell by 36 thousand. The largest decrease was for jobs in the manufacturing industry: 25 thousand fewer than twelve months previously, a fall of 2.3 percent. In financial and business services the number of jobs was 13 thousand lower. For the first time since 1994 the number of jobs in construction and in transport and communications was lower than in the same quarter last year. There were more jobs was positive in trade, hotels and restaurants, and the repairs sectors (7 thousand), but the increase was smaller than in previous quarters.
Government and care keep job growth going
The care and government sectors accounted for all of job growth in the third quarter of 2002. There were 64 thousand new jobs in care and other public services and 35 thousand in the government sector (including education).
This implies growth rates of 3.8 percent for the government sector and as much as 4.8 percent for the care sector, higher rates than in 2001 and in the first half of 2002.
Job growth mostly for women
Employment growth is slowing down for both men and women, although the number of jobs for women is still growing faster than that for men: 1.6 percent compared with 0.2 percent. Total job growth in the Netherlands was 0.8 percent. In 2001 the growth rate was 2.3 percent.
Growth in terms of full-time jobs at a near standstill
In terms of full-time jobs, employment growth in the third quarter of 2002 fell to 0.2 percent. In both 2000 and 2001 it rose by 2.1 percent. Employment growth is slowing faster in terms of full-time jobs than in terms of job positions. One important reason for this is the strong increase in jobs in the care sector, where relatively many people have part-time jobs. In terms of full-time jobs, employment for men has fallen for the first time since 1994.
Wage costs up 4.6 percent
Wage costs per labour year increased by an average 4.6 percent in the third quarter of 2002. This is less than the 5.0 percent in 2001. The wage increases set by collective agreements fell more strongly, from an average 4.8 percent in 2001 to 3.4 percent in the third quarter of 2002. The average wage cost increase is highest in financial and business services and lowest in the government sector.
Job growth in line with economic growth
Economic growth fell sharply in the beginning of 2001. Since mid 2001 the quarter-on-quarter growth of the economy has been virtually zero.
Employment continued to grow unabated, but responded to the stagnating economic growth more and more in the course of 2002. In the third quarter of 2002 the increase in employment in terms of full-time jobs was slightly below economic growth for the first time since 2000, 0.2 percent compared with 0.3 percent.
There are other signs of a turning point on the labour market. The number of vacancies fell quickly in the second half of 2001and the first half of 2001.
Following seven years of decrease unemployment has started to rise again. Registered unemployment is now 30 thousand higher than a year ago.