The picture of the economy has slightly improved at the end of January, relative to the preceding months. The heart of the indicators in the Business Cycle Tracer is more firmly located in the high economic growth stage, which means that the growth rate of most indicators is increasing and above their long-term average.
In the fourth quarter, the volume of the gross domestic product (GDP) was 2.7 percent up on one year previously. This almost equalled the economic growth rate in the third quarter. However, the fourth quarter of 2006 had one working day fewer than the same period in 2005. After adjustment for seasonal effects, GDP volume grew by 0.6 percent compared with the third quarter. This quarter-on-quarter growth rate is almost equal to the average in the first three quarters of 2006.
In January 2007, manufacturers were also optimistic, albeit slightly less so than in December. Business service providers were optimistic, too. The majority of them expected to receive more orders and to generate a higher turnover in the first quarter of this year. Consumer confidence rose in January to reach the highest level of the past six years.
The capital market interest rate was 0.3 percent point higher in January than in December. Dutch inflation was 1.4 percent in January. Selling prices in the manufacturing industry rose slightly again. They were 2.3 percent higher in December 2006 than twelve months previously.
Unemployment fell further in the period November-January. In the third quarter, the number hours worked in temp jobs as well as the number of vacancies increased further. There was a continuous rise in the number jobs in the fourth quarter.
Gross domestic product (GDP)