Private sector invariably positive

At the beginning of the second quarter, business confidence in the Dutch private sector is at the same level as in the first quarter. Over the past six quarters, the mood has been positive. Confidence improved further in the sectors trade and construction. In the sector services, confidence slipped to a lower level after a distinct increase in the first quarter, but is still positive. Optimism also prevails with respect to employment; the vacancy indicator suggests further improvement as Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Organisation for Medium-sized and Small Enterprises (MKB Nederland) and the Dutch Employers’ Organisation (VNO-NCW) announced today.

Business confidence in the Netherlands, total non-financial private sector

Optimism prevails across nearly all sectors

The mood among car and motorcycle dealers shifted from negative to positive. They were more optimistic about their stocks and anticipated better turnover results. Currently, optimism prevails across all sectors, apart from the sector mineral extraction.

Confidence also improved further among wholesalers and retailers. Shopkeepers are more positive about future sales and consumer spending. Wholesalers were also more optimistic about their turnover and the economic climate. This is consistent with the growth of exports, higher investments and higher retail sales during the past quarter.

Business confidence also improved further in the sectors manufacturing industry and construction. Confidence slipped in the sector information and communication, but remains positive.

Business confidence by sector

Optimism about employment

Generally, the private sector is fairly optimistic about employment. Despite a small dip at the beginning of the second quarter, the vacancy indicator is almost at the highest level in more than four years. Optimism about employment is an indication of growing confidence in the private sector.
The confidence indicator in the construction sector has reached the highest level in more than a decade. The share of building contractors who think they will have to hire staff in the near future has increased sharply. Although the indicator fell marginally in the sectors commercial services and manufacturing industry, it remains positive.

In the course of 2014, the amount of unfilled job vacancies has grown gradually, reaching the highest level in more than three years (95 thousand). Employment improved significantly in the sectors trade, commercial services and manufacturing industry.

Non-financial private sector: job vacancies (up to and including 2015 Q1)

An elaborate report about Business confidence in the Netherlands and the Business Cycle Survey Netherlands over the second quarter 2015 is available on