The mood among Dutch manufacturers improved marginally in May relative to April. According to Statistics Netherlands, the producer confidence indicator climbed 0.4 points to 0.7. Producer confidence has improved considerably since October 2012. Currently, manufacturers are cautiously optimistic.
Less negative about order positions, more optimistic about stocks…
Confidence improved marginally in May due to the fact that manufacturers were less negative about their order positions and more optimistic about their stocks of finished products. Their opinions about their future output, on the other hand, were somewhat less positive than in April. Earlier this month, Statistics Netherlands announced that manufacturing output had increased in the first quarter, partly as a result of the growing demand from abroad. Exports of chemical, electrical and metal products rose noticeably. The capacity utilisation rate in manufacturing industry has been on the increase for one year now. Investments in production capacity are also growing (machinery, equipment, computers).
Producer confidence in manufacturing industry
…but more pessimistic about employment
Manufacturers were more negative about future employment in their branches, after a four-month period in which their mood had improved. In May, 13.9 percent of manufacturers anticipated staff cuts during the next three months, whereas 9.6 percent expected employment in their branch to improve. According to information Statistics Netherlands published earlier, the number of employee jobs in manufacturing was declining in the first quarter of 2014 relative to the fourth quarter of 2013.
Expectations about development of workforce in the next three months
More figures can be found in dossier Business cycle.For more information on economic indicators, the reader is referred to the Economic Monitor.