Economic situation improves again

16/05/2017 15:10
According to the CBS Business Cycle Tracer, the economic situation is improving further in May. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that all indicators in the Tracer published mid-May are 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 April and reached the highest level in over 16 years. Opinions of Dutch consumers on the economic climate improved as well as their willingness to buy. Producer confidence reached its highest level in over 9 years.

Investments, exports and household consumption growing

Export of goods and services grew by 4.7 percent in Q1 2017 compared to the same quarter one year previously. Exports of chemical products, machinery, (basic) metal products and transport equipment were up year-on-year. Export of Dutch products and re-exports (i.e. export of previously imported goods) increased at approximately the same rate.

Investments were up by 6.7 percent in Q1 2017. Especially investments in residential property and transport equipment were higher year-on-year. Private sector investments in software, machinery and telecommunication equipment also rose relative to one year ago.

Year-on-year, consumer spending was up by 1.6 percent in Q1 2017. Although growth is below the level of the preceding quarter, consumer spending has risen continually over the past 12 quarters year-on-year. In Q1, consumers spent more on clothing and electrical appliances, but less on food, drinks and tobacco. Natural gas consumption also decreased. Furthermore, Dutch consumers spent more on services, e.g. in hotels and restaurants. Spending on services accounts for more than half of total domestic consumer spending.

Manufacturing output up again in March

Average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 4 percent up in March 2017 from March 2016. The increase was somewhat smaller than in February. Over the past 18 months, manufacturing output has continually been above the level of the same month one year previously. The strongest growth was seen in the machinery industry.

Lowest number of bankruptcies in over 9 years

The number of corporate bankruptcies has fallen. In April 2017, it was 42 down from the preceding month. The number of bankruptcies in April was the lowest in over nine years.

Labour market improves further

The number of job vacancies grew by 13 thousand in Q1 2017, the most substantial quarterly increase in over 10 years. The number of jobs held by employees also rose substantially by 56 thousand in Q1. Unemployment fell by 23 thousand, i.e. the unemployment rate dropped from 5.5 to 5.2 percent. The increase in job vacancies occurred in all industries. The number of jobs held by employees, however, did not grow in the financial services industry.

In Q1 2017, the total number of jobs averaged 10.1 million, including all jobs held by employees and self-employed, full-time as well as part-time. Since Q2 2014, a total of 359 thousand new jobs have been created (3.7 percent).

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 0.4 percent in Q1 2017

The gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.4 percent in Q1 2017 relative to Q4 2016 as the first estimate of GDP conducted by CBS shows. GDP is a measure for the size of a country’s economy. Investments were the main contributor to economic growth. The GDP growth rate was 3.4 percent in Q1 2017 compared to Q1 2016.

On Friday 23 June 2017, CBS will publish the second estimate on GDP and employment in Q1 2017.

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