State of the economy: further improvement

According to the Business Cycle Tracer, the improvement in the economy has continued in January 2006. Based on new monthly information the indicators in the Tracer have improved compared to December. The fifteen indicators are moving upwards, although they are still concentrated in the recovery stage of the cycle.

In January 2006 consumer confidence was virtually identical to that of December 2005. Producer confidence in manufacturing industry remained nearly unchanged too. The upward trend in both consumer- and producerconfidence continued into January. Entrepreneurs in the business services sector expect more orders and higher turnover in the first quarter.

The volume of goods exported from the Netherlands in November 2005 was 7 percent higher than one year previously. Manufacturing output was in November about the same level as in November 2004. Households spent 1.6 percent more in November than one year previously. Expenditure on durable goods in particular picked up in the second half of 2005.

Selling prices in the manufacturing industry declined in December from November. Inflation increased in December to 2.0 percent. The capital market interest rate of the latest 10-year central government loan was 0.1 percent point lower in December than in November. In October and November interest rates were still mounting.

Unemployment, adjusted for seasonal effects, declined further. In the third quarter of 2005 the number of jobs was slightly higher than in the second quarter. The number of vacancies rose strongly in the same period. There was also a further increase of the hours worked in temp jobs.

Gross domestic product

Gross domestic product