Economic situation positive, though slightly less

The picture of the economic situation at the end of February was slightly less positive than at the end of January. The heart of the indicators in the Business Cycle Tracer is still located in the high economic growth stage. All indicators in the Tracer, except consumer confidence, are performing better than their long-term average.

Dutch economic growth was 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007, the highest level growth rate for well over seven years. The fourth quarter had one working day more however. After adjustment for seasonal effects, GDP volume grew by 1.2 percent compared with the third quarter of 2007. It was the second highest quarter-on-quarter growth in nearly four years.

Consumer confidence fell substantially in February. Manufacturers remained optimistic. Business service providers expecting more orders and a higher turnover in the next three months amply outnumbered those anticipating a decline.

The capital market interest rate stood at 4.1 percent in January, i.e. 0.2 percentage points down on December 2007. Inflation increased slightly, to 2.0 percent. Selling prices in the manufacturing industry rose by nearly 10 percent in January, relative to January 2007.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment decreased further in the period November-January. 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 fourth quarter, but more slowly. Job growth continued further in the second quarter of 2007.

Gross domestic product (GDP)

Gross domestic product (GDP)