Private sector optimistic; employment expected to grow

At the beginning of Q2, the mood across the Dutch private sector remains largely positive. In various sectors, like information and communication and the sector hotels and restaurants, confidence improved, whereas in other sectors, like retail trade, confidence weakened. Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK), the Dutch Economic Institute for the Building Industry (EIB), the Dutch Association for SMEs (MKB-Nederland) and the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) report that most businesses anticipate employment growth.
At the beginning of Q2, business confidence approached 9, almost the same as in the past quarter. During the last two and a half years the business confidence indicator has been positive. With 10.1, the highest level was reached in 2011. Subsequently, confidence declined and turned negative. Since mid-2015, the indicator has been just under the previous highest level. The positive indicator is consistent with the sustained economic growth in the Netherlands.
Business confidence Netherlands, total non-financial private sector
Business confidence Netherlands, total non-financial private sector
 Series 0
2008 IV-7
2009 I-24.3
2009 II-29.7
2009 III-23.5
2009 IV-13.5
2010 I-7.1
2010 II0.5
2010 III3.4
2010 IV6.1
2011 I7.2
2011 II10.1
2011 III3.2
2011 IV-4.4
2012 I-6.3
2012 II-6.8
2012 III-8.6
2012 IV-9.2
2013 I-10.7
2013 II-11.7
2013 III-8.7
2013 IV-2.7
2014 I1.6
2014 II4.7
2014 III2.9
2014 IV4.9
2015 I5.6
2015 II5.4
2015 III8.7
2015 IV7.4
2016 I9.3
2016 II8.8

ICT and hotels and restaurants more positive, retail trade more negative

Business confidence grew most rapidly in the sector information and communication, from 9 to 15. In the sector hotels and restaurants the mood also improved. Earlier, CBS reported that confidence in manufacturing industry had reached the highest level (5) in nearly eight years. Just as in the preceding four quarters, the highest confidence level (19) was reached in wholesale trade.
Business confidence declined marginally in other sectors of industry, but remains positive except in mining and car dealing. Confidence fell in the retail sector where expectations with respect to future turnover results were less positive.
Business confidence by sector
Business confidence by sector
 Q1 2016Q2 2016
Total private sector8.8
Wholesale trade19.2
Information and communication15.3
Hotels and restaurants13.4
Business services12.5
Manufacturing industry4.7
Rental and trade immovable property3.3
Retail trade3.2
Transport and storage2.5
Car dealers and car repairs-0.9

Employment expected to grow

Confidence has been high for quite some time now. The private sector is also positive about employment prospects. Business confidence has not been this high since the survey was started in 2008.
In mining, manufacturing industry and personal services, more businesses anticipate a decrease in the workforce than an increase, but the gap is closing. In all other sectors, the reverse situation applies.

Anticipated staff
Anticipated staff
2012 I-10.5
2012 II-8.2
2012 III-15.2
2012 IV-17.5
2013 I-19.7
2013 II-12.6
2013 III-14.6
2013 IV-15.5
2014 I-13.3
2014 II-2.4
2014 III-5.3
2014 IV-5.3
2015 I-6.1
2015 II3.1
2015 III2.3
2015 IV3
2016 I1
2016 II8.4

Business confidence indicates the mood in the Dutch private sector. It is calculated based on a survey of recent developments and expectations within companies in each industry sector. Subsequently, business confidence for the Netherlands is compiled from a weighted average in confidence per sector. Business confidence provides an indication of the direction in which the Dutch economy is expected to develop.


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