Economic picture unchanged

© Hollandse Hoogte
According to the CBS Business Cycle Tracer, the economic situation in May is the same as in the previous month. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that ten of the thirteen indicators in the Tracer as published mid-May are performing above the level of their long-term trend.

The CBS Business Cycle Tracer is a tool used to monitor the situation and the developments in the Dutch economy. It uses thirteen key macro-economic indicators. Together, these provide a coherent macro-economic picture which is based on CBS figures published over the past month or quarter. It does not represent the situation at the level of individual households, businesses or regions.

Business Cycle Tracer indicator (unweighted average of the indicators in the CBS Business Cycle Tracer) (distance to the long-term trend (=0))
YearMonthcycle
2012January-0.04
February-0.1
March-0.13
April-0.16
May-0.24
June-0.3
July-0.36
August-0.47
September-0.55
October-0.62
November-0.73
December-0.83
2013January-0.9
February-1.02
March-1.11
April-1.17
May-1.25
June-1.28
July-1.28
August-1.28
September-1.23
October-1.16
November-1.09
December-1.01
2014January-0.95
February-0.89
March-0.86
April-0.85
May-0.82
June-0.81
July-0.8
August-0.78
September-0.77
October-0.76
November-0.74
December-0.71
2015January-0.67
February-0.62
March-0.56
April-0.5
May-0.43
June-0.37
July-0.33
August-0.29
September-0.26
October-0.26
November-0.24
December-0.23
2016January-0.24
February-0.23
March-0.22
April-0.2
May-0.16
June-0.12
July-0.09
August-0.04
September0
October0.05
November0.11
December0.16
2017January0.2
February0.27
March0.32
April0.36
May0.41
June0.44
July0.47
August0.53
September0.57
October0.61
November0.68
December0.72
2018January0.76
February0.82
March0.85
April0.86
May0.89
June0.89
July0.88
August0.89
September0.88
October0.85
November0.85
December0.81
19January0.76
February0.74
March0.71
April0.68
May0.68

No further decline in consumer confidence, producer confidence improving

Consumer confidence did not drop further in April; confidence among Dutch manufacturers improved. Producer confidence remains above the long-term average, while consumer confidence stands at its long-term average.

Consumer and producer confidence (seasonally adjusted) (average of the component questions)
YearMonthConsumer confidenceProducer confidence
2014January-60.7
February-2-0.1
March11.1
April40.3
May60.7
June60.7
July61.2
August20
September-2-0.2
October12
November-22.4
December-43.4
2015January-22.8
February-12
March71.4
April103.3
May114.1
June144.6
July133.7
August133.5
September113.8
October122.4
November144
December133
2016January113.2
February73.1
March23.9
April64.7
May74.4
June115.4
July95.1
August91.2
September123.4
October174.3
November213.4
December214.7
2017January216
February227
March247.8
April268.3
May236.1
June237.2
July256.6
August265.4
September238.5
October238.2
November229.1
December258.9
2018January2410.3
February2310.9
March249.5
April258.2
May239.8
June237.7
July236.3
August215.9
September195.7
October155.9
November137.2
December97.5
2019January15.8
February-26.3
March-46.1
April-36.7

Investments, household consumption and exports growing

In Q1 2019, investments in fixed assets were 4.5 percent higher than one year previously. The first quarter mainly saw an increase in investments in dwellings, buildings, infrastructure and machinery.

Consumer spending was up by 0.7 percent in Q1 2019 relative to the same quarter last year. The growth rate was lower than in the previous quarter, when consumers spent over 2 percent more year-on-year. In Q1 2019, consumers spent more on e.g. home furnishing articles, electrical appliances and services. However, they spent less on passenger cars. Natural gas consumption also decreased.

Exports of goods and services grew by 1.1 percent in Q1 2019, the lowest growth rate in three years’ time. Dutch companies exported mainly more machinery and appliances. Re-exports (i.e. exports of imported products) grew while exports of domestic products declined.

Manufacturing output down by 1 percent

The average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 1.0 percent down in March 2019 compared to the same month last year. In the previous month, output was more or less the same year-on-year. In March, output in the rubber and plastic industry showed the strongest year-on-year growth.

Slightly more bankruptcies in April

The number of corporate bankruptcies has increased slightly. There were 3 more bankruptcies in April 2019 than in the previous month. The trend has been relatively stable in recent years.

Number of jobs continues to grow

In Q1 2019, the number of full-time and part-time jobs held by employees and self-employed rose by 53 thousand to 10.591 million jobs relative to the previous quarter. Over a period of twelve months, the number of jobs grew by 230 thousand. Over 860 thousand jobs were added as of Q2 2014. This exceeded long-term job growth during the period 2004-2008, when 810 thousand jobs were added in 4.5 years’ time.

The total number of hours worked by employees and self-employed reached over 3.4 billion in Q1 2019. When adjusted for seasonal effects, this is over 1 percent more than in the previous quarter.
In Q1 2019, the number of job vacancies again rose to a new record: 277 thousand, up by 13 thousand compared to the previous quarter. The number of vacancies has been above pre-crisis levels since Q2 2018. New and filled vacancies (seasonally adjusted) also reached record highs.

Unemployment declined by 14 thousand to 316 thousand in Q1 2019. At 3.4 percent, the unemployment rate was below the pre-crisis level for the first time.

Tension in the labour market has risen to a new high. In Q1 2019, there were on average 88 job vacancies per 100 unemployed. In Q4 2018, there were 80 vacancies per 100 unemployed.

GDP (volume), seasonally adjusted (2010=100)
   index
2012Quarter 1100.9
Quarter 2100.9
Quarter 3100.5
Quarter 499.8
2013Quarter 1100.1
Quarter 299.9
Quarter 3100.5
Quarter 4101.1
2014Quarter 1101.0
Quarter 2101.6
Quarter 3101.9
Quarter 4102.8
2015Quarter 1103.4
Quarter 2103.7
Quarter 3104.1
Quarter 4104.2
2016Quarter 1105.1
Quarter 2105.4
Quarter 3106.5
Quarter 4107.3
2017Quarter 1107.8
Quarter 2108.8
Quarter 3109.6
Quarter 4110.6
2018Quarter 1111.3
Quarter 2112.1
Quarter 3112.2
Quarter 4112.8
2019Quarter 1113.3

GDP growth 0.5 percent in Q1 2019

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.5 percent in Q1 2019 relative to the previous quarter, according to the first estimate of GDP conducted by CBS. Growth was mainly due to investments in fixed assets. GDP grew by 1.7 percent relative to Q1 2018.

On Monday 24 June 2019, CBS will publish the second estimate of GDP and employment over Q1 2019.

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