Economic situation improving

© Hollandse Hoogte
According to the CBS Business Cycle Tracer, the economic situation has improved marginally in December compared to the preceding months. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that all indicators published mid-December are performing 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 indicators in the Business Cycle Tracer)

Consumers equally positive, producer confidence slightly down

The mood among Dutch consumers has not changed in the past three months and is at its highest level since August 2007, but confidence among Dutch manufacturers deteriorated somewhat in November compared to October. This is mainly due to the fact that manufacturers are less positive about their future output. Producer and consumer confidence are both above the level of their long-term average.

Consumer and producer confidence (seasonally adjusted)

Household consumption, exports and investments growing

Dutch consumer spending was 2.7 percent up in October 2016 from October 2015. Consumers spent more on durable goods like clothes, shoes, household appliances and home furnishing articles. They also spent more on food, beverages and tobacco products.

The total volume of goods exports grew by 5.2 percent in October 2016 relative to the same month last year. Growth was above the level of September. In October, exports of passenger cars, natural gas, chemical products and electrical equipment rose noticeably. Re-exports grew stronger than exports of products manufactured in the Netherlands.

The volume of investments in tangible fixed assets grew by 0.6 percent in October relative to the same month in 2015. Year-on-year growth was considerably smaller than in prior months. Investments in passenger cars and infrastructural projects declined noticeably in October. Investments in residential property again grew significantly in October.

Manufacturing output continues to grow

The average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 0.6 percent up in October 2016 from October 2015. The growth rate was much lower than in September. Over the past thirteen months, manufacturing output has continually been above the level of the same month one year previously. Again, the sector transport equipment showed the strongest growth.

Considerable rise bankruptcies

The number of bankruptcies rose substantially in November, by 106 relative to October. This rise is largely due to the bankruptcy of one particular company comprising dozens of business units, all of which were declared bankrupt separately.

Labour market improves further

The number of jobs held by employees and self-employed rose by 24 thousand in Q3 2016. The number of temp jobs increased significantly. Employment also improved in the trade sector and the sector hotels and restaurants. The number of new job vacancies grew by nearly 7 thousand, while unemployment fell by 37 thousand.

In Q3 2016, there were on average 9,996 thousand jobs. The number of jobs has grown for ten quarters in a row. Since Q1 2014, a total of approximately 250 thousand new jobs have been created.

Relative to Q3 2015, the total number of jobs in the Netherlands has grown by 92 thousand.

For the first time since early 2012, unemployment has fallen below 500 thousand. The number of unemployed stood at 499 thousand in November, i.e. 5.6 percent of the labour force. With an average of 7 thousand a month, unemployment declined less rapidly during the past three months than in the summer period.

Year-on-year, unemployment is now nearly 100 thousand lower, but still 190 thousand higher than shortly before to the onset of the recession in August 2008, when unemployment reached the lowest level in the recent years (310 thousand).

Turnover and hours worked in temp jobs further up

Turnover generated by temp agencies, job recruitment consultants and personnel managers grew by 1.0 percent in Q3 2016 relative to the preceding quarter. Growth is less substantial than in Q2. The number of hours worked in temp jobs also increased further in Q3. Growth is based on an increase in short-term as well as long-term employment contracts.

Gross Domestic Product (volume, seasonally adjusted)

GDP growth 0.8 percent in Q3 2016

The gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.8 percent in Q3 2016 relative to the previous quarter as the second calculation of GDP conducted by CBS shows. GDP is a measure for the size of a country’s economy. Exports and household consumption were the main contributors to economic growth. The Dutch economy grew by 2.4 percent in Q3 2016 compared to the same quarter last year.

On Tuesday 14 February 2017, CBS will publish the first estimate on economic growth and employment in Q4 2016 and economic growth and employment developments over the entire year 2016.