upbeat prospects for Dutch economy

30/09/2015 15:00

Statistics Netherlands reports today that optimism about the Dutch economy prevails. Nearly all relevant indicators perform above the level of their long-term average. The economic situation improved marginally in September 2015 relative to August.

Statistics Netherlands’ Business Cycle Tracer is a tool used to monitor the economic situation and economic developments. It uses fifteen key macro-economic indicators, which – together – provide a coherent picture of the state of the economy during the last month or quarter.

Business cycle tracer indicator (unweighted average of the 15 indicators in the Business Cycle Tracer)

Producers and consumers optimistic

Confidence mood among Dutch manufacturers improved somewhat in September. Since October 2014, the majority of producers have been optimistic.

Consumer confidence hardly changed. Confidence has been fairly stable over the past four months. Producer and consumer confidence are both far above the level of their long-term average.

Consumer and producer confidence (seasonally adjusted)

Investments, household consumption and export of goods up

Investment readiness improved substantially in July. The volume of investments in tangible fixed assets was up by 10 percent relative to July 2014. This is mainly due to higher investments in residential property, cars, machinery and infrastructural projects.

Goods exports grew considerably in July; the volume of exports was 5.4 percent up from July 2014. The increase was above the level of the preceding five months. The export of transport equipment, machinery and equipment grew considerably. Exports of Dutch products and re-exports also increased.

Dutch consumer spending on goods and services was up by 1.3 percent in July 2015 on the same month last year. Household spending on durable goods grew most rapidly. Just as in the preceding months, consumers spent more on home furnishing articles and household appliances. This is consistent with the revival of the housing market.

Year-on-year manufacturing output grows for fifth consecutive month

The average daily output generated by Dutch manufacturing industry was 0.6 percent higher in July 2015 than in July last year. Year-on-year manufacturing output was higher for the fifth month in a row, although the sector was still suffering the effects from a major closedown in the tobacco industry. If this is not taken into account, manufacturing output growth would have been even higher.

Lowest number of bankruptcies in almost 7 years

Adjusted for the number of days courts are in session, the number of bankruptcies declined by 113 in August 2015 compared to the preceding month and reached the lowest level since October 2008.

Job market recovers, unemployment further down

In the second quarter of 2015, the number of jobs of employees and self-employed increased by 29 thousand compared to the first quarter of 2015 and by 93 thousand compared to the second quarter of 2014. The number of job vacancies in the Netherlands rose by 6 thousand.

Altogether, 604 thousand people were unemployed in August, about the same number as in July and 13 thousand fewer than three months previously. In August, 6.8 percent in the Dutch labour force were unemployed.

The total number of hours worked in temp jobs has risen since early 2013. The second quarter recorded the most substantial increase in almost five years. The number of long-term temporary employment contracts (secondment and payrolling) as well as short-term employment contracts grew further.

Gross Domestic Product (volume, seasonally adjusted)

Further economic growth despite reduction natural gas extraction

The second estimate published on 23 September for the second quarter of 2015 showed that the Dutch economy grew for the fifth quarter in a row. Quarter-on-quarter growth was 0.2 percent. The economy is currently back at the level prior to the recession which set in in the latter half of 2008.

The economic growth rate fell when the volume of natural gas extracted in the Netherlands was cut back significantly. The Dutch government decided to scale down natural gas extraction to reduce the risk of earthquakes in the province of Groningen. Economic growth was up by 1.8 percent in the second quarter from the same period last year.

On Friday 13 November 2015, Statistics Netherlands will publish the results of the first estimate of economic growth and of the number of jobs in the third quarter of 2015.

More figures can be found in the Business cycle dossier.

For more information on economic indicators, see the Economic Monitor.