Economic situation fairly stable

© Hollandse Hoogte
According to the CBS Business Cycle Tracer, the economic situation has hardly changed in June. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that all indicators in the Tracer published mid-June 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.

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

Manufacturers and consumers positive

The consumer confidence indicator has remained stable in June. Opinions of Dutch consumers on the economic climate have hardly changed. Willingness to buy improved marginally.

Confidence among Dutch manufacturers declined in May. Manufacturers are notably less positive about their future output and their order books. Producer and consumer confidence are both above the level of their long-term average.

Consumer and producer confidence (seasonally adjusted)

Exports and household consumption up, investments down

The total volume of goods exports continued to rise and was almost 3 percent up in April 2017 relative to April 2016. Growth was below the level of March. In April 2017, exports of electrical machinery and chemical products rose most significantly.

Dutch consumer spending was 2.7 percent up in April 2017 from April 2016. The growth rate is higher than in the preceding month. Consumers mainly spent more on clothing and home furnishing articles. Consumer spending on food, beverages and tobacco products was more than 2 percent up from one year previously. In addition, consumers spent 2 percent more on the category ‘other goods’.

Furthermore, Dutch consumers spent more on services, e.g. rental payments, public transport, visits to restaurants or hairdressers, and insurance premiums. Spending on services accounts for more than half of total domestic consumer spending.

The volume of investments in tangible fixed assets was 1.4 percent down in April 2017 from the same month last year. This is mainly because investments in airplanes were twice as high in April 2016 as in April 2017. Investments in infrastructural projects were also lower. Investments in residential property, passenger cars and machinery and equipment, on the other hand, increased.

Manufacturing output up again in April

Average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 2.4 percent up in April 2017 from April 2016. The increase was somewhat smaller than in March. Over the past nineteen 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.

More bankruptcies in May

The number of corporate bankruptcies has risen. In May 2017, it was 17 up from April. The number of bankruptcies in April was the lowest in over nine years.

Falling unemployment, mainly among youth

Unemployment declined by an average of 6 thousand per month over the previous three months and stood at 456 thousand (5.1 percent of the labour force) in May. This is equal to the level of April, but lower than three months ago when the unemployment rate stood at 5.3 percent.

Unemployment dropped among young people under 25 in particular. The unemployment rate fell from 9.7 percent in February to 9.0 percent in May: the lowest level since March 2009.

Labour market improves further

The number of jobs held by employees and self-employed rose by 53 thousand in Q1 2017 relative to Q4 2016. The number of job vacancies grew by 13 thousand in Q1 2017, the most substantial quarterly increase in over 10 years. The increase in job vacancies occurred in all industries.

Turnover temp agencies continues to rise

Turnover generated by temp employment agencies, providers of job placement services and payroll services grew by 1.1 percent in Q1 2017 relative to Q4 2016. Growth is slightly smaller than in the preceding quarter. The total number of hours worked in temp jobs also increased further in Q1.

Gross Domestic Product (volume, seasonally adjusted)

GDP growth 0.4 percent in Q1 2017

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.4 percent in Q1 2017 relative to Q4 2016, as shown in the second estimate of GDP conducted by CBS. Investments were the main contributor to economic growth. The GDP growth rate was 3.2 percent in Q1 2017 relative to Q1 2016.

On Wednesday 16 August 2017, CBS will publish the first estimate of GDP and employment in Q2 2017.