At the start of Q3, business confidence has increased relative to one quarter previously. After a dip in Q2 2013, business confidence reached the highest level since Q3 2011. Business confidence improved significantly at the beginning of Q3 in the sectors construction and wholesale trade. There is also more optimism about future employment, as the survey conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Organisation for Medium-sized and Small Businesses (MKB Nederland) and the Dutch Employers’ Organisation (VNO-NCW) shows.
Optimism prevails across all sectors
Business confidence improved most obviously in the construction sector and the wholesale trade sector. In construction, the economic activity has gained momentum. Residential building and civil engineering predominantly account for the boost in business confidence. Construction firms also expect to recruit staff. In wholesale trade, turnover increased and more wholesalers think the economic climate is improving.
In the sectors retail trade, information and communication and rental and trade of immovable property, business confidence fell although the mood indicator remains positive.
In Q2 21 percent of businesses recorded higher profitability margins; 14 percent saw profitability decline. On balance, profitability improved inn 7 percent of businesses, the highest percentage since 2008. In approximately 65 percent of cases, profitability figures remained stable. On balance, the sectors construction and retail and wholesale trade performed best.
More optimism about employment
The private sector is relatively optimistic about employment. The vacancy indicator has risen further at the beginning of Q3 to reach the highest level in more than four years. Presumably, this is an indication that the number of job vacancies in the private sector has increased in Q3.
In the course of 2014 and 2015, the number of unfilled job vacancies has steadily grown and reached the highest levell (99 thousand) in more than three years in Q2 2015. Employment obviously improved in the sectors trade, business services and manufacturing industry.
A more comprehensive report on Business Confidence in the Netherlands and the Business Cycle Survey Netherlands third quarter 2015 can be accessed on Ondernemersplein.