Economic contraction 0.8 percent in Q1 2021

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© CBS / Alrik Swagerman
According to the second estimate conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 0.8 percent in Q1 2021 relative to Q4 2020. The second GDP estimate is published 90 days after the end of each quarter.

The growth rate has been adjusted downwards. In the first estimate, which was published on 18 May, contraction amounted to 0.5 percent. On the one hand, the adjustment is the result of new, more complete data for the first quarter of 2021 and, on the other, of adjustments to the annual figures for 2019 and 2020 and the reconciliation of the quarterly estimates with these new annual figures. This is done every year in June.

The overall picture of the economy has remained unchanged. GDP contraction in Q1 is mainly attributable to a decline in household consumption. However, higher investments and an increased trade balance cushioned the contraction.

GDP (volume), seasonally adjusted
YearQuarterIndex (2015=100)
2014Quarter 197.3
2014Quarter 297.9
2014Quarter 398.1
2014Quarter 499
2015Quarter 199.6
2015Quarter 299.9
2015Quarter 3100.2
2015Quarter 4100.3
2016Quarter 1101.2
2016Quarter 2101.4
2016Quarter 3102.6
2016Quarter 4103.4
2017Quarter 1103.9
2017Quarter 2104.9
2017Quarter 3105.6
2017Quarter 4106.5
2018Quarter 1106.9
2018Quarter 2107.5
2018Quarter 3107.9
2018Quarter 4108.4
2019Quarter 1109
2019Quarter 2109.5
2019Quarter 3109.9
2019Quarter 4110.4
2020Quarter 1108.6
2020Quarter 299.5
2020Quarter 3107
2020Quarter 4107
2021Quarter 1106.2

Second estimate

The second estimate is conducted 90 days after the end of the quarter. The first estimate, which is calculated 45 days after the end of the quarter, is based on the most recent data available at that moment. After the first estimate, more new information about the state of the Dutch economy keeps pouring in, e.g. data about the sectors construction business services, hotels and restaurants, government care and the financial sector. These data are subsequently incorporated into new calculations.

In absolute terms, the adjustment in the second estimate relative to the first estimate has averaged nearly 0.04 percentage points over the past half decade, with the two extremes ranging between -0.2 and + 0.1 percentage points.

Quarter-on-quarter growth adjustment

With each new estimate, CBS also recalculates the seasonally adjusted series of previously published quarters. As a result, the quarter-on-quarter GDP growth rate in Q3 2020 and Q4 2020 has been adjusted from 7.7 to 7.5 percent and from -0.1 to 0.0 percent respectively.

Annual figures

Simultaneously with the publication of the second estimate over Q1 2021, revised annual figures over 2019 (final) and 2020 (provisional) are published. On the basis of the most recent data, the economic growth rate for 2020 (provisionally) has been adjusted from -3.7 to -3.8 percent. The growth rate for 2019 has been adjusted from 1.7 to 2.0 percent.

Growth relative to Q1 2020

Year-on-year, GDP declined by 2.4 percent. In the first estimate, contraction was 2.8 percent. The year-on-year contraction was mainly due to lower household consumption. However, public consumption and the trade balance contributed positively.

In particular, the value added of COVID-19-affected industries has been revised downwards in the quarters of 2020. As a result, the year-on-year contraction in the first quarter of 2021 was smaller than in the first estimate. The changes in the industries were exceptionally high and erratic in the past year. The uncertainty margins around the quarterly estimates are therefore larger than before the pandemic.

GDP (volume)
YearQuarterIndex (year-on-year % change)
2014Quarter 11.3
2014Quarter 21.4
2014Quarter 31.1
2014Quarter 41.8
2015Quarter 11.9
2015Quarter 22.1
2015Quarter 32.5
2015Quarter 41.4
2016Quarter 12.1
2016Quarter 22.3
2016Quarter 32.1
2016Quarter 42.2
2017Quarter 13.2
2017Quarter 23
2017Quarter 32.8
2017Quarter 42.6
2018Quarter 12.6
2018Quarter 22.7
2018Quarter 32.2
2018Quarter 41.9
2019Quarter 11.9
2019Quarter 22
2019Quarter 32.1
2019Quarter 41.9
2020Quarter 1-0.2
2020Quarter 2-9.2
2020Quarter 3-2.6
2020Quarter 4-2.9
2021Quarter 1-2.4

Number of jobs down by 16 thousand

The second estimate shows that the number of employee and self-employed jobs decreased by 16 thousand in Q1 2021 compared to Q4 2020. The first estimate suggested a decrease of 69 thousand jobs.

In Q1 2021, the second estimate further suggested a decline of 169 thousand employee and self-employed jobs compared to the same quarter in 2020, versus 221 thousand according to the first estimate.

Job figures are adjusted when additional information becomes available.

Total jobs (seasonally adjusted)
   change (quarter-on-quarter change (1,000))
2014Quarter 1-12
2014Quarter 218
2014Quarter 323
2014Quarter 429
2015Quarter 135
2015Quarter 233
2015Quarter 337
2015Quarter 441
2016Quarter 113
2016Quarter 254
2016Quarter 346
2016Quarter 455
2017Quarter 162
2017Quarter 266
2017Quarter 375
2017Quarter 473
2018Quarter 181
2018Quarter 271
2018Quarter 364
2018Quarter 443
2019Quarter 154
2019Quarter 249
2019Quarter 333
2019Quarter 452
2020Quarter 147
2020Quarter 2-281
2020Quarter 3156
2020Quarter 4-25
2021Quarter 1-16