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Netherlands – Labour market shaky but staffing industry improves

31 August 2012

The Dutch staffing market has seen a continuous slowdown this year with industry giants such as Randstad making local revenue losses this year, but trading conditions are showing some small signs of improvement.

Employment forecasts predict no recovery of the Dutch staffing market until 2013 while Staffing Industry Analysts recently downgraded its outlook on the Netherlands as austerity measures have continued to drive economic sentiment across Europe.

But official figures by CBS, the Dutch statistics office, reveal today that the number of hours worked in the temporary staffing sector has increased in the three months to June, albeit by only +2%  when compared to the previous quarter.

The figures, which have been seasonally adjusted, also show that, in the first quarter, temporary billings were up by +1% which means that the first half of the year has seen no decline in hours worked.

This in itself is a positive development as monthly statistics by the Dutch staffing association ABU have mainly seen industry revenue and activity fall this year. In June/July, for instance, turnover in staffing industry dropped by -2% on the prior year while temporary workers also worked -5% less in terms of hours.

But CBS warned of a difficult jobs market outlook. It said that the rise in hours worked by temporary staff was the only positive indicator for the labour market as the number of jobs and vacancies have both declined in the quarter.

Unemployment in the Netherlands, still one of the lowest in Europe, rose to 6.5% in July with over half a million people being out of work. 

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