More vacancies than unemployed for first time in 50 years
In the second quarter of this year, the Netherlands had more open vacancies than unemployed persons. For every 100 unemployed people, there were 106 vacancies, making the tension on the labor market incredibly high, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) said on Tuesday. In absolute numbers, the number of vacancies was also record high at over 300 thousand.
"We haven't seen anything like this in 50 years," CBS economist Peter Hein van Mulligen said to NOS.
The tension on the labor market started increasing in the first quarter of 2020, as coronavirus vaccinations started and some lockdown measures started being relaxed. In the first quarter, the number of open vacancies per 100 unemployed increased from 57 to 73. That spiked to 106 in the second quarter, when catering establishments were allowed to gradually reopen, curfew was scrapped, and the cultural sector started allowing visitors again.
Most vacancies were found in trade, business services and healthcare. Together, these three sectors account for half of all vacancies in the Netherlands. In the hospitality industry, the number of vacancies doubled last quarter. This sector had the most vacancies per 1 thousand employee jobs at 82. On the labor market as a whole, there were 39 vacancies per 1 thousand employee jobs in the second quarter.
The tension on the labor market was already increasing before the coronavirus, but the pandemic added to that, Van Mulligen said to the broadcaster. "There is a shortage of migrant workers who returned to Eastern Europe during the pandemic," he said. Coronavirus support packages also kept companies afloat that would have gone bankrupt in normal situations. "Now people stay in those jobs while they would otherwise have become unemployed."
Unemployment has been falling for three consecutive quarters. In the second quarter, 307 thousand people, or 3.3 percent of the labor force, were unemployed. This means they had no paid work, were actively looking for a job, an available to start immediately.
The total number of jobs increased by 133 thousand in the second quarter, but is still 29 thousand less than in the first quarter of 2020 - the last pre-pandemic quarter.