Economic situation remains worrying

The economic situation at the end of March was still worrying. The heart of the indicators in the Business Cycle Tracer is firmly located in the recession stage.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, Dutch Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 0.6 percent. GDP volume was smaller than one year previously for the first time in over five years. Compared with the preceding quarter, output declined by 1.0 percent. This is the third time in a row that quarter-on-quarter growth was negative.

Consumer confidence fell in March. Consumers were particularly worried about the immediate future. Manufacturers, on the other hand, were slightly less pessimistic than in February. Producer confidence increased from -22.9 to -20.8. Business service providers also were slightly less pessimistic than in February.

In February 2009, capital market interest averaged 3.8 percent, i.e. the same as in January. The Dutch inflation rate stood at 2.0 percent in February, i.e. 0.1 of a percentage point up on January’s inflation rate. Selling prices in the manufacturing industry were nearly 10 percent down on February 2008.

The volume of exports decreased considerably. It dropped by more than 14 percent in January relative to one year previously. Consumption expenditure grew marginally. Households spent 0.4 percent more than in January 2008.

Unemployment is rising marginally. In the period December 2008-February 2009, seasonally adjusted unemployment averaged 306 thousand. The number of jobs of employees was nearly 108 thousand up on the fourth quarter of 2007, i.e. a 1.4 percent growth. The number of job vacancies plummeted. The number of hours worked in temp jobs decreased marginally.

Gross domestic product (GDP)

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)