Economic situation improves further

24/03/2017 15:00
According to the CBS Business Cycle Tracer, the economic situation is improving further in March. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that all indicators published mid-March 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 in the Netherlands. It combines all important economic information published by CBS during the last month or quarter.

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

Confidence improves among consumers and producers

The consumer confidence indicator increased in March 2017 to the highest level in almost 10 years. Opinions held by Dutch consumers on the economic climate as well as their willingness to buy improved.

In February, producer confidence reached its highest level in almost 9 years. Manufacturers are much more positive about their order books. Producer and consumer confidence are both above the level of their long-term average.

Consumer and producer confidence (seasonally adjusted)

Investments, exports and household consumption growing

The volume of investments in tangible fixed assets was 6.4 percent up in January 2017 relative to the same month last year. Investments in passenger cars were considerably higher in January than in the same month one year previously. This is mainly due to a very low level of investments in cars in January 2016.

In January 2017, investments in machines, lorries and delivery vans were also up year-on-year. Investments in residential property also increased, but to a lesser extent than in the previous six months. Investments in infrastructure, on the other hand, declined.

The volume of goods exported in January 2017 was 5.7 percent up from January 2016. Growth was somewhat below the level of the previous month. Especially exports of machinery and appliances, (basic) metal and chemical products rose in January. Exports of Dutch products and re-exports were higher than one year previously.

Consumer spending was 2.7 percent up in January 2017 year-on-year. The growth rate is roughly the same as in the preceding three months. Consumers spent more on home furnishing articles in particular. In December as well as in January, natural gas consumption was significantly higher.

Manufacturing output up in January

Average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 1.5 percent up in January 2017 relative to the same month one year previously. The increase was considerably lower than in December. Over the past sixteen months, manufacturing output has continually been above the level of the same month year-on-year. The strongest growth was seen in the machinery industry.

Fewer bankruptcies in February

The number of companies declared bankrupt continues to fall. In February 2017, the number of bankruptcies was 45 down from the preceding month. Most bankruptcies were recorded in the trade sector.

Labour market improves further

The number of jobs held by employees and self-employed rose by 62 thousand in Q4 2016, i.e. the most substantial increase in 9 years. Since Q1 2014, a total of more than 300 thousand new jobs have been created. Relative to Q4 2015, the total number of jobs in the Netherlands has increased by 139 thousand. The number of new job vacancies grew by 8 thousand.

Unemployment has declined by an average of 9 thousand a month over the past three months and stood at 473 thousand (5.3 percent of the labour force) in February. The number of people with paid jobs has grown by an average of 13 thousand a month during the past three months.

Turnover and hours worked in temp jobs further up

Turnover generated by temp employment agencies, job pools and payrollers grew by 3.5 percent in Q4 2016 relative to the preceding quarter. This is the highest growth in 2016. The number of hours worked in temp jobs also increased further in Q4. The growth is due to an increase in both short-term and long-term employment contracts.

Gross Domestic Product (volume, seasonally adjusted)

GDP growth 0.6 percent in Q4 2016

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.6 percent in Q4 2016 relative to Q3 2016 as shown in the second estimate of GDP conducted by CBS. GDP is a measure for the size of a country’s economy. Exports and household consumption were the main contributors to economic growth. The GDP growth rate was 2.5 percent in Q4 2016 compared to Q4 2015.

On 16 May 2017, CBS will publish the first estimate of GDP and employment in Q1 2017.

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