According to Statistics Netherlands’ Business Cycle Tracer, the economic situation at the end of May was about the same as at the end of April. The economic situation is still fragile, the recovery has come to a virtual standstill in the last few months. Improvements and deteriorations almost cancelled each other out. Three indicators moved back to the red quadrant, so the heart of the scatter in the Business Cycle Tracer is located less firmly in the recovery stage.
The consumer confidence indicator climbed 3 points in May to -2. The mood among consumers has improved considerably since the summer of 2013, but the indicator is still negative. Manufacturers are cautiously optimistic. The producer confidence indicator stood at 0.7 in May, versus 0.3 in April.
Current developments in the exports of goods, private sector investments and household consumption are also positive. The volume of exports of goods was 0,7 percent up in March 2014 from March 2013. Private sector investments in tangible fixed assets were 4.3 percent higher. Household spending on goods and services was 2.3 percent down in March 2014 from March 2013. Due to the relatively mild weather conditions households used far less natural gas.
In April, 700 businesses and institutions (excluding one-man businesses) were declared bankrupt. The average daily output generated by Dutch manufacturing industry was 1.4 percent up in March 2014 from March 2013.
The situation on the job market remains bleak. The number of jobs declined further in the first quarter. Seasonally adjusted unemployment rose in April. With 8.7 percent, the unemployment rate in the Dutch labour force remains high. The number of job vacancies, on the other hand, increased in the first quarter relative to the fourth quarter of 2013. The total amount of hours worked in temp jobs grew by 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014 relative to the fourth quarter of 2013, but the growth was less substantial than in the preceding quarters.
The most recent figure on economic growth refers to the first quarter of 2014. Relative to the fourth quarter of 2013, the Dutch economy showed a negative growth rate of 1.4 percent. The decline is caused by the lower consumption of natural gas due to the relatively mild weather conditions. Quarter-on-quarter growth figures are adjusted for calendar and seasonal effects. The Dutch economy contracted 0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2014 relative to the same period last year.
Gross domestic product (GDP)
More figures can be found in dossier Business cycle.For more information on economic indicators, the reader is referred to the Economic Monitor.