Recession persists

The economic situation by the end of April is worrying. The heart of the indicators in the Business Cycle Tracer remains located in the ”recession stage”.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, the economy contracted by 0.6 percent. For the first time in more than half a decade, the volume of GDP was smaller than one year previously. The economy declined by 1.0 percent relative to the preceding quarter. For the third time running, quarter-on-quarter growth was negative.

Consumer confidence increased in April. Consumers were less pessimistic about the economy in the next twelve months. Manufacturers were slightly less pessimistic than in March. Producer confidence rose from -20.8 to -17.4. On the other hand, business service providers were more pessimistic.

In March 2009, capital market interest averaged 3.7 percent. The Dutch inflation rate stood at 2.0 percent in March, the same as in February. Selling prices in manufacturing industry were nearly 11 percent lower in March than twelve months previously.

Manufacturing output decreased by nearly 13 percent in February relative to February 2008. In January, manufacturing output was 11 percent lower than twelve months previously. The volume of exports also shrank by almost 13 percent in February. The volume of consumption was also smaller. Households spending was 2.8 percent down on February 2008.

Unemployment is rising. In the period January-March 2009, seasonally adjusted unemployment averaged 317 thousand. The number of jobs in the fourth quarter was nearly 108 thousand higher than in the fourth quarter of 2007, a growth by 1.4 percent. The number of job vacancies plummeted. The number of hours worked in temp jobs decreased marginally.

Gross domestic product (GDP)

Gross domestic product (GDP)