Economic picture mid-March virtually unchanged

© Shutterstock / Natalia Balanina
According to the CBS Business Cycle Tracer, the economic situation in March has hardly changed compared to the previous month. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that nine of the thirteen indicators in the Tracer as published mid-March are performing above the level of their long-term trend. The economic picture of March does not yet reflect the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. The CBS Business Cycle Tracer of mid-March does not contain any figures from March 2020.

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)
YearMonthcycle (distance to the long-term trend (=0))
2012January-0.03
2012February-0.09
2012March-0.12
2012April-0.15
2012May-0.22
2012June-0.29
2012July-0.35
2012August-0.46
2012September-0.54
2012October-0.62
2012November-0.75
2012December-0.85
2013January-0.94
2013February-1.06
2013March-1.15
2013April-1.21
2013May-1.28
2013June-1.3
2013July-1.3
2013August-1.29
2013September-1.23
2013October-1.16
2013November-1.08
2013December-1
2014January-0.93
2014February-0.88
2014March-0.85
2014April-0.84
2014May-0.82
2014June-0.82
2014July-0.81
2014August-0.8
2014September-0.79
2014October-0.77
2014November-0.74
2014December-0.7
2015January-0.66
2015February-0.6
2015March-0.54
2015April-0.49
2015May-0.43
2015June-0.38
2015July-0.34
2015August-0.3
2015September-0.27
2015October-0.26
2015November-0.24
2015December-0.23
2016January-0.23
2016February-0.22
2016March-0.21
2016April-0.21
2016May-0.17
2016June-0.15
2016July-0.12
2016August-0.06
2016September-0.03
2016October0.01
2016November0.07
2016December0.12
2017January0.15
2017February0.21
2017March0.26
2017April0.29
2017May0.35
2017June0.38
2017July0.41
2017August0.46
2017September0.5
2017October0.54
2017November0.59
2017December0.63
2018January0.66
2018February0.71
2018March0.75
2018April0.77
2018May0.79
2018June0.8
2018July0.79
2018August0.79
2018September0.78
2018October0.75
2018November0.73
2018December0.69
2019January0.63
2019February0.59
2019March0.53
2019April0.49
2019May0.47
2019June0.44
2019July0.41
2019August0.38
2019September0.33
2019October0.3
2019November0.27
2019December0.25
20January0.25
20February0.24
20March0.24

Consumer confidence unchanged, producer confidence up

In March, consumer confidence is the same as in February. Producer confidence was more favourable in February than in January. Both consumer and producer confidence are above the long-term average.

Approximately 85 percent of the respondents participating in the consumer confidence survey had already responded to the survey before the far-reaching measures against the spread of coronavirus came into effect on Thursday 12 March. The effect of these measures is probably not yet reflected in the consumer confidence measurements for March.

Consumer and producer confidence (seasonally adjusted)
YearMonthConsumer confidence (average of the component questions)Producer confidence (average of the component questions)
2015January-22.8
2015February-12
2015March71.4
2015April103.3
2015May114.1
2015June144.6
2015July133.7
2015August133.5
2015September113.8
2015October122.4
2015November144
2015December133
2016January113.2
2016February73.1
2016March23.9
2016April64.7
2016May74.4
2016June115.4
2016July95.1
2016August91.2
2016September123.4
2016October174.3
2016November213.4
2016December214.7
2017January216
2017February227
2017March247.8
2017April268.3
2017May236.1
2017June237.2
2017July256.6
2017August265.4
2017September238.5
2017October238.2
2017November229.1
2017December258.9
2018January2410.3
2018February2310.9
2018March249.5
2018April258.2
2018May239.8
2018June237.7
2018July236.3
2018August215.9
2018September195.7
2018October155.9
2018November137.2
2018December97.5
2019January05.8
2019February-26.3
2019March-46.1
2019April-36.7
2019May-34.7
2019June03.3
2019July 23.9
2019August03.9
2019September-23.3
2019October-13.6
2019November-22.8
2019December-22.9
2020January-32.5
2020February-23.7
2020March-2

Investments, exports and household consumption growing

The total volume of goods exports grew by 3.7 percent in January year-on-year. Growth was slightly lower than in the previous month. In January 2020, exports of electrotechnical products and machinery and petroleum products increased in particular.

The volume of investments in tangible fixed assets was 2.3 percent up in January 2019 relative to the same month last year. This was mainly due to higher investments in the construction sector.

Dutch consumers spent 1.0 percent more in January 2020 than in January 2019. The growth rate was considerably lower than in December (2.9 percent). This was due to lower natural gas consumption, among other things.

Manufacturing output 0.3 percent up in January

In January 2020, the average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 0.3 percent up from one year previously. Output showed a year-on-year decline in the preceding two months.

Number of corporate bankruptcies hardly changed

The number of corporate bankruptcies has hardly changed. There were 3 more bankruptcies in February 2020 than in the previous month. The trend has been relatively stable in recent years.

Number of jobs continues to grow

In Q4 2019, the number of full-time and part-time jobs held by employees and self-employed rose by 53 thousand to 10,751 thousand jobs. This is an increase of 0.5 percent relative to the previous quarter. Compared to Q4 2018, the number of jobs grew by 189 thousand, an increase of 1.8 percent.

The number of jobs has grown for almost six consecutive years. Since Q2 2014, it has increased by 1,023 thousand.

The total number of hours worked by employees and self-employed reached a total of almost 3.5 billion in Q4 2019. When adjusted for seasonal effects, this is 0.8 percent more than in the previous quarter.

At the end of December, the number of job vacancies stood at 291 thousand, up by over 3 thousand compared to the previous quarter.

Tension in the labour market has grown slightly. In Q4 2019, there were on average 92 job vacancies per 100 unemployed. In Q3 2019, there were 90 vacancies per 100 unemployed.

In February, there were 274 thousand unemployed (according to the ILO definition). In the past three months, unemployment fell by an average of 17 thousand per month. The number of unemployed in February is equivalent to 2.9 percent of the labour force. For the first time since 2003 - the first year for which monthly figures are available - this percentage is below 3.0.

GDP (volume), seasonally adjusted
yearquarterindex (2010=100)
2012Quarter 1100.8
2012Quarter 2100.9
2012Quarter 3100.5
2012Quarter 499.8
2013Quarter 1100.1
2013Quarter 299.9
2013Quarter 3100.5
2013Quarter 4101.1
2014Quarter 1101
2014Quarter 2101.6
2014Quarter 3101.9
2014Quarter 4102.8
2015Quarter 1103.4
2015Quarter 2103.7
2015Quarter 3104.1
2015Quarter 4104.1
2016Quarter 1105.1
2016Quarter 2105.3
2016Quarter 3106.5
2016Quarter 4107.4
2017Quarter 1107.9
2017Quarter 2108.9
2017Quarter 3109.7
2017Quarter 4110.5
2018Quarter 1111.2
2018Quarter 2111.9
2018Quarter 3112.2
2018Quarter 4112.9
2019Quarter 1113.4
2019Quarter 2113.8
2019Quarter 3114.2
2019Quarter 4114.7

0.4 percent GDP growth in Q4 2019

According to the second estimate of GDP conducted by CBS, gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.4 percent in Q4 2019 relative to the previous quarter. Growth was mainly due to consumption and investments. GDP grew by 1.6 percent relative to Q4 2018.

On Friday 15 May 2020, CBS will publish the first estimate of GDP and employment over Q1 2020.

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