economic situation gradually improves

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Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports today that - just as in the preceding months -  the economic situation in the Netherlands continues to improve. Most indicators in December’s Business Cycle Tracer performed above the level of their long-term average.

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 CBS during the last month or quarter.

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

Producers and consumers less optimistic

Confidence among Dutch manufacturers deteriorated in December. They were less optimistic, in particular about their future output results. Dutch consumers were also less positive, in particular about the economic situation, but 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

The volume of investments in tangible fixed assets was up by almost 4 percent in October relative to October 2014. The increase is less substantial than in September. The slowdown is predominantly caused by lower investments in residential property and infrastructural projects. Investments in cars, on the other hand, grew again significantly compared to one year previously, possibly as a result of changing tax laws: on 1 January 2016, the rules for addition to the taxable income for company cars will again become stricter.

Exports of goods continue to grow. The volume of exports of goods was nearly 4 percent up from October 2014, versus a 1.5 percent growth in the preceding month. In October, exports of petroleum derivatives and chemical products grew most noticeably.

Dutch consumer spending on goods and services in October 2015 was up by almost 2 percent from October 2014. Consumer spending on natural gas was significantly higher than in October 2014. In October this year, temperatures were far below the average temperature level recorded in October 2014.

Manufacturing output up

Average daily output generated by Dutch manufacturing industry was up by more than 2 percent in October 2015 compared to the same month last year. This is mainly due to output growth in chemical products and electrical appliances.

Number of bankruptcies hardly changes

Adjusted for court session days, the number of bankruptcies rose by 1 in November 2015 relative to October. Most bankruptcies were filed in the trade sector and the sector financial services.

Fewer unemployed, more jobs

In November, the number of unemployed fell to 606 thousand, i.e. 6.8 percent of the labour force, versus 6.9 percent in October.
The third quarter of 2015 saw an increase in the number of jobs and the number of vacancies.  The job market grew by 35 thousand compared to the previous quarter, mainly due to an increase in 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 150 thousand. In the preceding two years, however, more than 150 thousand jobs were lost, so that the total number of jobs is still slightly lower than in 2011.

The total number of hours worked in temp jobs has grown since the beginning of 2013. In the third quarter, it rose by 2.5 percent. The increase was recorded in long-term temporary contracts in the form of secondment or pay-rolling services and in short-term temporary 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 second estimate. Exports, investments and consumption all made a positive contribution.

The economy has shown growth for the sixth consecutive quarter. Initially, growth accelerated, but over the past two quarters the growth rate slowed down and now appears to go through a period of consolidation. Currently, the economy is performing 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 on Dutch economy.

The first estimate on economic growth and employment developments over the fourth quarter of 2015 will be published by CBS on Thursday 11 February 2016.