Further improvement of the economic situation

The economic situation at the end of March was better than at the end of February. This is mainly because the manufacturing industry recovered further. Most indicators in the Business Cycle Tracer are still in the recession stage. Fourteen of the fifteen indicators are below 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 0.2 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.

The mood among consumers hardly changed in March. Producer confidence in manufacturing improved. Providers of business services were more positive about their future turnover.

In January, the volume of goods exports was nearly 10 percent up on one year previously. Production in manufacturing increased substantially: the average daily output was 6 percent higher. Household spending was 0.7 percent down on January 2009.

In February, capital market interest dropped marginally. The long-term interest rate stood at 3.4 percent. Dutch inflation was 0.8 percent, i.e. 0.1 percentage points down on January. Selling prices in manufacturing industry were over 6 percent higher than in February 2009.

Unemployment increased by 5 thousand in the period December 2009– February 2010. 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)