The Dutch economy grew by 1.8 percent in 2019, according to the annual overview of the Dutch economy in 2019 by Statistics Netherlands (CBS). Friday's figures are definitive for 2019. The second calculation in March already showed a growth of 1.8 percent.

Growth was not as high as in the previous four years, but the Dutch economy grew faster than that of neighboring countries such as Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

The increase in the Dutch economy is due to the fact that the Dutch have started working more: the total number of hours worked was 2 percent higher than in 2018, Statistics Netherlands writes. Labor productivity did decrease slightly with a decrease of 0.2 percent.

The Dutch worked more hours in total, because simply more people had a job. Statistics Netherlands writes that in 2019 "more people were working than ever" with more than 9.5 million working people.

2019 year of extremes in the labor market

The statistics bureau's figures show that 2019 was a year of extremes: in addition to the record number of employed people, the number of vacancies at the highest level ever measured was an average of 281,000, while the number of unemployed actually fell to the lowest position since 2002.

The growth of vacancies and the decrease in the number of unemployed resulted in a tighter labor market. The number of unemployed per vacancy fell to 1.1, which means that the labor market has probably not been so tight since 1971, according to Statistics Netherlands.

The shortage on the labor market subsequently led to an increase in wages. Collectively agreed wages rose on average by 2.6 percent last year, the largest increase in ten years.