Research into economic developments in Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland in recent years found the city of Groningen is increasingly becoming the economic centre of the north.
Translation by Traci White
The research, which was carried out by Dagblad van het Noorden, E & E Advies and employment register Lisa, looked into employment numbers from the provinces of Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland between 2012 and 2017.
According to Dagblad van het Noorden, the city of Groningen added 5,000 jobs in 2017, and the average rate of job growth over the previous five years was 3.6 percent. Groningen has around 140,000 jobs, which accounts for roughly 18 percent of all jobs in the province. Many of the new jobs were due to academic opportunities in the province, according to the research.
The city of Assen in Drenthe has experienced similar growth, with 3.7 percent job growth in 2017 and on average over the five-year period the research looked into. PostNL is one of the biggest employers in the city, due in large part to the fact that the company has extensive operations in Drenthe. The job growth there largely compensated for lost jobs in the gas and oil industry: NAM’s headquarters are also located in the province. Assen currently has around 41,000 jobs.
Another city in Drenthe, Emmen, experienced a dramatic loss in job numbers since 2012. Over five years, Emmen saw its employment rate decline by 11.1 percent, which was around 5,700 jobs: the city has 45,000 jobs. Bas Doets, the director of E & E Advies, described the fact that Emmen is still losing jobs in a period of sustained economic growth as a “serious issue.” Similar numbers were occurring across the southern portion of Drenthe, namely in Meppel, Hoogeveen and Coevorden.
As for Friesland, Leeuwarden saw its job numbers decline by 3 percent on average between 2012 and 2017, and the city currently has around 68,000 jobs. In 2017 specifically, Leeuwarden did see limited job growth of .3 percent. Across the province more broadly, job numbers underwent significant decline in Friesland going back to 2010: Bas Doets says nearly 25 percent of jobs in the financial sector were lost in that period, many of which were located in Leeuwarden.
Job numbers have also been rising, albeit somewhat sluggishly, across the rest of Friesland, with major growth reserved for a couple of the northern municipalities: Het Bildt added 12 percent more jobs, and the island of Terschelling saw 7.8 percent job growth.
But job numbers were by and large lagging behind in the more rural municipalities in Groningen and Drenthe: three-fourths of the province of Groningen saw job losses in recent years, and there were only three municipalities in Drenthe that had positive job numbers.
Overall, Doets says that the number reveal that the province of Groningen is increasingly dependent on the city and it immediately surroundings for economic growth, but he reiterated his concerns about the lack of employment opportunities in the northern provinces in light of the national global upswing since 2015.