Economic situation remains favourable

The picture of the economic situation at the end of January is very similar to that at the end of December. The heart of the indicators in the Business Cycle Tracer is again located in the high economic growth stage. All indicators in the Tracer are performing better than their long-term average, with the exception of consumer confidence.

At 4.2 percent, economic growth in the third quarter was the highest in more than seven years. Growth was spurred on by gas production. After adjustment for seasonal effects, GDP volume grew by 1.8 percent compared with the second quarter of 2007.The quarter-on-quarter growth has not been this high for over ten years.

Manufacturing production in December was almost 2 percent up on last year. The volume of exports of goods was 10 percent up on November 2006. Household spending rose by 2.2 percent, compared with the same month one year previously.

Consumer confidence fell slightly in January. Manufacturers were exceptionally optimistic. The number of the business services providers expecting to receive more orders and to generate a higher turnover in the first quarter of this year amply exceeds those anticipating a decrease.

The capital market interest rate stood at 4.1 percent in January, i.e. 0.2 percentage points down on December 2007. With 1.9 percent, December’s inflation rate equalled that of November. Selling prices in the manufacturing industry rose by 8.8 percent relative to December 2006.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment decreased further in the period October-December. The number of job vacancies in the fourth quarter equalled the record level in the third quarter. The number of hours worked in temp jobs also rose in the third quarter, but more slowly. Job growth continued further in the second quarter of 2007.

Gross domestic product (GDP)

Gross domestic product (GDP)