Update Labour Market Second Quarter of 2021
The developments of the first quarter continue: unemployment is falling, fewer people are changing jobs, and labour market activity is low. In short, the supply of labour is decreasing. The labour market is getting tighter. Furthermore, we are seeing an increase in permanent contracts among people who have recently found different/new work and more flex workers have the prospect of a permanent contract.
• Labour market activity, the extent to which the Dutch working population is actively looking for a job, has decreased compared to the previous quarter (-32 thousand). Compared to the second quarter of 2020, there is also a decrease (-28 thousand). Just over one in nine people in the Dutch labour force (11.1%) is actively looking for a new job. Among working people, this is only one in thirteen (7.4%) and the trend is declining. We also see that the proportion of people who are not looking for (different) work at all has increased again (42.8%; +0.4%). The labour market activity varies greatly by occupation. For occupation-specific insights, please see Giant.
• With regard to the number of job changes, we are seeing a significant drop similar to the previous quarter. Compared to last year, the 17.0% who found different/new work means a decrease of 198 thousand. Compared to the previous quarter, the decrease of 37 thousand is somewhat smaller. Mobility has clearly decreased.
• The sourcing pressure has increased by 33.1% in the second quarter. Both compared to the previous quarter and compared to last year, there is an increase. Approximately one in three people in the Dutch working population was approached at least once a quarter by an employer or agency for a new job. The sourcing pressure is an important indicator of scarcity in the Dutch labour market. The sourcing pressure for specific professions can be found via Giant.
• Unemployment initially rose rapidly as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, but has been declining since the second half of 2020. The unemployment rate is very low at 3.3% (May 2021). Unemployment will probably rise again in 2021 with the phasing out of emergency and support measures over time. In its most recent forecast (June estimate 2021), the CPB predicts an unemployment rate of 3.6% for 2021, rising to 4.1% in 2022. This is still relatively low.
• We are seeing stabilisation in the expected duration of the search for a new job. There was an increase in the third and fourth quarters of last year, but no change has been observed in recent quarters. This search duration is based on the period that people themselves indicate that they require in order to find new work. It can be considered an employee confidence indicator in the labour market. At 4.1 months, the expected search time is low.
• The share of flex workers who expect to receive a permanent contract at the end of their current flexible contract has increased again. The percentage rose from 38.0% in the first quarter to 39.6% in the second quarter. That share has not been as high since the measurements started in 2015. The number of job seekers who immediately received a permanent contract has increased again after a significant decrease in the previous quarter. In the second quarter, 37.1% of job seekers indicated that they immediately received a permanent contract (compared to 36.5% in the previous quarter). This is comparable to the period at the end of 2018. Viewed over a somewhat longer period, the share is still relatively high. The figures fit the image of a tight labour market.
• In 2020 there were just over 1 million new vacancies according to the CBS. This is a significant decrease compared to the more than 1.2 million new vacancies in 2019. The vacancy rate (the number of vacancies in relation to the number of employees) at 12.1% was nevertheless still above the average of the past 20 years (11.1%). The vacancy rate is comparable to earlier periods such as 2016/2017, 2008, and 2005. These are years in which the economy grew strongly in contrast to a sharp contraction in 2020. The most recent forecast of the CPB on the Dutch economy and labour market has been calculated in our vacancy model. The number of vacancies is expected to rise to more than 1.1 million annually in 2021 and 2022. After that, economic growth will slow down somewhat, followed by a slight fall in the number of vacancies to approximately 1 million per year.
The indicators on this website are periodically updated. The figures based on our Labour Market Behavioural Survey are updated every quarter. All other indicators and models on this page are updated on a monthly basis.
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