Benefits agency predicts 200,000 new jobs in two years

Benefits agency UWV expects that the economic recovery will continue to mean an increase in the demand for labor this year and next year. UWV expects the number of jobs to grow by 1.1 percent this year and 0.9 percent in 2017, totalling in 200 thousand new jobs, according to the agency's latest forecast, reports.

This year UWV expects 93 thousand new jobs for employees and 21 thousand new jobs for independent contractors or freelancers. In 2017 there will be a further job increase of 69 thousand for employees and 26 thousand for freelancers.

According to Rob Witjes, head of labor market information at UWV, this expected growth is "above average" when compared to the growth of the last 20 years. If both the jobs for employees and freelancers are taken into account, there are already more jobs available than before the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008. If freelancing jobs are not counted, the number of employee jobs is expected to reach pre-crisis levels in 2018.

Witjes adds that the job growth is still too small to "push unemployment down substantially". Statistics Netherlands thinks that unemployment will fall to 6.3 percent of the Dutch workforce in 2017.

The benefits agency also expects a slight increase in the number of vacancies. The forecast predicts a 42 thousand increase to 866 thousand vacancies this year and a slight increase to 871 thousand in 2017. Most of these new vacancies will come from healthcare, welfare and retail. The number of vacancies is still well below pre-crisis levels, when there were more than a million vacancies a year.

UWV predicts a further decline in the number of unemployment benefits to 387 thousand at the end of next year - 59 thousand fewer than in 2015.