The number of vacancies is declining rapidly. According to the latest figures by Statistics Netherla nds there were 178 thousand unfilled vacancies in March, down 38 thousand on March last year. The decrease is of the same magnitude as the one in late 2001. The largest decrease occurred in business services.
At the end of the first quarter of 2002 there were 178 thousand unfilled vacancies, against 216 thousand a year ago. This brought the the number of vacancies down by 38 thousand, or 18%. In the fourth quarter of 2001 the number of vacancies fell by 40 thousand. This means that the rate with which the number of vacancies is declining remains high.
Number of filled vacancies down
In the first quarter of this year 213 thousand new vacancies were created, 56 thousand less than a year ago. This is comparable to the drop observed in the fourth quarter of 2001, which was just over 60 thousand.
In the first quarter of 2002 some 200 thousand vacancies were filled, down 58 thousand on the year before. This means the number of filled vacancies decreased faster than in the fourth quarter of 2001 when the decrease was 32 thousand. When both the filled and the newly created vacancies decrease it means that the job market is becoming far less dynamic.
Business services sees greatest decrease
By far the greatest decrease in the number of unfilled vacancies was found in business services. Here the number of vacancies fell from 54 to 37 thousand, down 32%. Other strong decliners were industry, construction, trade and the sector â€˜transport and communicationâ€™. In the non-commercial services there still was a slight increase in the number of vacancies.
This is the second quarter in a row that business services saw their number of vacancies decrease fastest. In the second quarter of 2001 this was the only sector that was still going strong. Forty percent of the subsequent stagnation can be attributed to a decrease in the IT sector.
Economic slowdown manifest in job market
The number of vacancies has been falling since the third quarter of 2001. This is due to the economic development: the Dutch economic growth rate has been slowing down for the fifth quarter in a row. As a consequence unemployment has started to increase since February of this year. The seasonally corrected number of registered unemployed was up by an average of 168 thousand for the period March-May. This is 34 thousand more than in the fourth quarter of 2001.
(source: Statistics Netherlands)