State of the economy: further improvement

According to the Business Cycle Tracer, the economy has shown further improvement in April 2006. Most indicators in the Tracer show that the economy is moving towards a period of substantial growth.

Consumer confidence was up again in April. Consumer confidence has gradually improved since September 2005. Producer confidence in the manufacturing industry remained high in April. Companies in the business services sector expect more orders and higher turnover in the second quarter.

The Dutch economy grew in the fourth quarter of 2005. The volume of gross domestic product (GDP) was 1.6 percent higher than one year previously. This equalled the growth in the second and third quarter. After correction for working day patterns and seasonal effects, the volume of GDP was 0.8 percent higher than in the third quarter of 2005.

Dutch manufacturing output in February was 0.6 percent higher than February 2005.  The export volume of goods was 8 percent higher. In January household consumption was 2.6 percent up on January 2005. Spending on durable goods improved in particular.

Inflation dropped 0.1 percentage points in March. The capital market interest rate of the latest 10-year central government loan in March was 0.2 percentage points up on February. Selling prices in the manufacturing industry in March increased by 0.5 percent compared to February 2006.

Unemployment fell further in the first quarter of 2006. The modest recovery in employment continued in the fourth quarter of 2005. The number of vacancies remained high in the fourth quarter last year. There was a further increase of the hours worked in temp jobs.

Gross domestic product

Gross domestic product