Economic situation improves further

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports today that similar to previous months, the economic situation in the Netherlands has improved further on nearly all accounts. In November 2015, most indicators of the Business Cycle Tracer performed above the level of their long-term average. The economic situation looks marginally better than last month. 

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 Dutch economy as published by Statistics Netherlands during the last month or quarter.

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

Producers and consumers more optimistic

Confidence among Dutch manufacturers improved in November relative to October. Producers’ opinions about future output have improved most noticeably. The mood among Dutch consumers was marginally better in November. The consumer confidence indicator has reached its highest level in more than eight years. Both producer and consumer confidence are also far above the level of their long-term average.

Consumer and producer confidence (seasonally adjusted)

Investments, household consumption and export of goods up

Investments have grown again substantially in September. The volume of investments in tangible fixed assets was up by more than 12 percent relative to September 2014, with investments in residential property growing most noticeably. Investments in passenger cars also grew significantly compared to one year previously. This could be because of changing tax laws: as of 1 January 2016, conditions for the additional tax liability of company cars will again become stricter.

Dutch consumer spending on goods and services in September 2015 was up by more than 2 percent from September 2014. Consumers mainly spent more on durables such as clothing and home furnishing.

The volume of exports of goods was up by over 1 percent  in September 2015 from one year previously,. a smaller increase than in the preceding months. Dutch exports of transport equipment, petroleum derivatives and metal products grew most noticeably compared to the previous year. Re-exports in particular showed substantial growth.

Manufacturing output slightly up

The average daily output generated by Dutch manufacturing industry was up by nearly 1 percent in September 2015 from the same month last year. This is mainly due to production growth in the pharmaceutical and electrical appliance i industries.

More bankruptcies

Adjusted for court session days, there were 47 more bankruptcies in October 2015 relative to September. The number of bankruptcies increased most notably in the sectors construction and hotels and restaurants.

No further reduction in unemployment, but more jobs

In October, the number of unemployed reached 616 thousand. Relatively more people in the Netherlands began seeking employment but often without success. In October, 6.9 percent of the labour force were unemployed against 6.8 percent in September.

The third quarter of 2015 saw an increase in both the number of jobs and the number of vacancies. The job market grew by 33 thousand jobs compared to the previous quarter, mainly due to a higher number of temp jobs. At the same time, the number of unfilled job vacancies rose by one thousand, resulting in a total of 132,000 vacancies by the end of September.

The job market has seen consistent growth for six quarters in a row. Over this period, the number of jobs rose by 148 thousand. In the two years prior to this period, however, over 150 thousand jobs were cut, so that the total number of jobs is still slightly lower than in 2011.

The total number of hours worked in temp jobs has been on the  increase for two and a half years now, and rose by 2.5 percent in the third quarter relative to the previous quarter. The increase was seen in the number of long-term temporary contracts in the form of secondment or pay-rolling as well as the number of short-term contracts.

Gross Domestic Product (volume, seasonally adjusted)

Marginal economic growth

The Dutch economy grew by 0.1 percent in the third quarter of this year relative to the second quarter. The growth rate is based on a first estimate with data previously available. Exports, investments and consumption all made a positive contribution.

The economy has shown growth for the sixth consecutive quarter. Initially, growth accelerated, but in the past two quarters the growth rate slowed down and now appears to go through a period of consolidation. At present, the economy performs above the pre-recession level.

Dutch economic growth was nearly 2 percent in the third quarter relative to the same period last year. The reduced extraction of natural gas had a negative effect of approximately 0.5 percentage points on the Dutch economy.

The second estimate on economic growth and the job market over the third quarter of this year will be published by Statistics Netherlands on Thursday 24 December 2015.