Economic situation less promising

Compared with the preceding months, the picture of the economic situation was less favourable at the end of May. The heart of the indicators in the Business Cycle Tracer is located on the edge of the high economic growth stage and the downswing stage. Thirteen of the fifteen indicators in the Tracer are performing better than their long-term average.

Dutch economic growth was 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2008. This growth was realised with one working day fewer than the year before, however. After adjustment for seasonal effects, GDP volume grew by only 0.2 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2007.

Consumer confidence fell substantially. The indicator dropped from -12 in April to -17 in May. Manufacturers, on the other hand, were slightly more optimistic. Business service providers expecting more orders and a higher turnover over the next three months outnumbered those anticipating a decline, but their preponderance is slowly diminishing.

Capital market interest averaged 4.2 percent in April, 0.2 of a percent point higher than in March. Inflation was lower in April than in March. Selling prices in the manufacturing industry rose by almost 9 percent on April 2007. This price increase was less substantial than in the three preceding months.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment decreased in the period February-April. The number of job vacancies in the first quarter was slightly lower than in the fourth quarter, but still remains high. The growth of the number of hours worked in temp jobs is decelerating. In the first quarter, the number of hours worked in temp jobs hardly exceeded that in the fourth quarter of 2007. Job growth continued further in the fourth quarter of 2007, though the growth rate was slightly less than in preceding quarters.

Gross domestic product (GDP)

Gross domestic product (GDP)