Economic situation slightly better

The economic situation was slightly better at the end of February than at the end of January. This is mainly caused by the further recovery of the economy. The majority of the indicators in the Business Cycle Tracer is located in the recession stage. Fourteen of the fifteen indicators are below the level of their long-term average.

The Dutch economy contracted by 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to the same quarter of 2008. The contraction was considerably smaller than in the first three quarters of 2009. Compared to the preceding quarter the economy grew by 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter, taking calendar and seasonal effects into account. This is the second quarter showing positive growth, after four consecutive quarters of negative quarter-on-quarter growth.

Consumer confidence declined marginally in February. The mood among manufacturers improved. Providers of business services were slightly more optimistic about their future turnover than in January.

In January, capital market interest hardly changed. The long-term interest rate stood at 3.5 percent. Dutch inflation was 0.8 percent. In January, selling prices in manufacturing industry were 5 percent higher than one year previously.

In the period November 2009– January 2010, seasonally adjusted unemployment stood at 435 thousand, i.e. 11 thousand up on October – December 2009. The number of jobs in the fourth quarter was 147 thousand down on one year previously. At the end of December there were 122 thousand unfilled vacancies, i.e. 6 thousand less than at the end of September. In the fourth quarter, the decrease in the number of hours worked in temp jobs slowed down further.

Gross domestic product (GDP)

Gross domestic product (GDP)