Economic situation improves further

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© Hollandse Hoogte
According to the CBS Business Cycle Tracer, the economic situation is improving further in April. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that all indicators in the Tracer published mid-April are situated in the green quadrant, which means that all indicators are improving and performing above the level of their long-term trend.

Statistics Netherlands’ Business Cycle Tracer is a tool used to monitor the economic situation and economic developments. It uses thirteen 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.

Confidence improves among consumers and producers

The consumer confidence indicator improved in March and reached the highest level in almost 10 years. Opinions of Dutch consumers on the economic climate improved as well as their willingness to buy.

Producer confidence reached its highest level in 9 years. Manufacturers were much more positive in March about their future output. Producer and consumer confidence are both above the level of their long-term average.

Investments, exports and household consumption growing

The volume of goods exported in February 2017 was almost 8 percent up from February 2016, the highest increase since February 2011. In February 2017, exports of machinery and appliances, chemical products and transport equipment all showed significant growth. Exports of Dutch products and re-exports were higher than one year previously.

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

In January 2017, investments in machinery, lorries and delivery vans were also up on an annual basis. Investments in residential property increased too, but to a lesser extent than in the preceding six months. Investments in infrastructural projects, on the other hand, declined year-on-year.

Dutch consumer spending was 2.7 percent up in January 2017 from January 2016. The growth rate is roughly the same as in the preceding three months. Consumers spent more on home furnishing articles. Natural gas consumption was significantly higher in January. In December consumer spending on natural gas was also high.

Manufacturing output up in February

The average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 5 percent up in February 2017 from February 2016. The increase was higher than in January. Over the past seventeen months, manufacturing output has continually been above the level of the same month one year previously. The strongest growth was seen in the transport equipment industry.

Marginal increase bankruptcies in March

The number of company bankruptcies has risen marginally. In March 2017, the number of bankruptcies was 11 up 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, 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 grown by 139 thousand. The number of job vacancies has grown by 8 thousand in Q4.

Unemployment fell 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 in paid employment grew 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 temporary staffing agencies, providers of job placement services and payrolling companies grew by 3.5 percent in Q4 2016 relative to the preceding quarter. This is the highest growth rate in 2016. The number of hours worked in temp jobs also increased further in Q4. Growth is based on an increase in short-term and long-term employment contracts.

GDP growth 0.6 percent in Q4 2016

The gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.6 percent in Q4 2016 relative to Q3 2016 as the second estimate 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 GDP growth rate was 2.5 percent in Q4 2016 compared to Q4 2015.

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