The riddle of increasing waiting times

Omroep West
Erasmus School of Economics

Waiting times for having window frames installed or parquet floors laid are running high. What is causing this and can we expect this to continue? Jan van Ours, Professor of Applied Economics at Erasmus School of Economics, discusses the situation with Omroep West.

There is a severe shortage of staff and parts of goods are hardly available or not at all. A wait of four or five months to have your house insulated has meanwhile become normal. In any case, it is clear that this is felt by everyone, including professor van Ours: as an economist, but also as a consumer. Getting a parquet floor laid took three months.

Cause of phenomenon is unclear

Van Ours: 'It really puzzles me. You would say: there is a war in Ukraine, so the economy must not be doing well and there must be a sufficient supply of labour. But that is so not the case. It is just the opposite. Perhaps the aftermath of the corona pandemic, but that too is speculation. Many companies that were actually not viable have been kept afloat with subsidies. They would have fallen over in a normal economy. Now they are retaining a lot of staff, therefore it is not yet balanced.'

Possible course

While it remains unclear what will happen in the future in the labour market and the economy in general, Van Ours does expect some things: 'This will all take at least another year, maybe longer. It's not going to happen that fast. Although, there is already sky-high inflation. First, unemployment will rise. Not very drastically, but still. Then the supply of labour will increase and the waiting time for consumers will start to decrease. After that, demand might also decrease, because of that high inflation. After that, there will be more balance.'

More information

You can read Omroep West's article, 6 November 2022, here.

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