Economic growth of 1.9 percent in Q3 2021

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According to the first estimate conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 1.9 percent in Q3 2021 relative to the previous quarter. This economic growth was mainly due to increased household consumption. Public consumption also made a positive contribution to growth, but investments decreased. In Q3 2021, GDP was higher than its pre-pandemic level for the first time.

Households spent 3.8 percent more in Q3 than in Q2 2021. Public consumption grew as well, by 0.7 percent. Exports and imports of goods and services increased by 1.3 and 1.6 percent, respectively. Investments were down by 2.7 percent.

In particular, the sector trade, transportation and accommodation and food services, the sector business services and the sector government, education and care made positive contributions to the quarter-on-quarter economic growth. However, construction and manufacturing contributed negatively.

GDP (volume), seasonally adjusted
YearQuarterIndex (2015=100)
2014Quarter 197.3
2014Quarter 297.9
2014Quarter 398.1
2014Quarter 499.0
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 1109.0
2019Quarter 2109.5
2019Quarter 3109.9
2019Quarter 4110.4
2020Quarter 1108.6
2020Quarter 299.5
2020Quarter 3107.0
2020Quarter 4107.0
2021Quarter 1106.2
2021Quarter 2110.2
2021Quarter 3112.3

Impact of the coronavirus crisis on the first estimate

Due to the coronavirus crisis, the growth figures are surrounded by greater uncertainty than usual during a first estimate.

The rest of this news release deals with economic development compared to Q3 2020.

GDP 5.0 percent up on Q3 2020

According to the first estimate, GDP was up by 5.0 percent relative to Q3 2020. Household consumption and the trade balance were higher in particular. Investments and public consumption also made a positive contribution to growth. Compared to two years ago, GDP was 2.3 percent larger in Q3 2021. This is due to the trade balance and public consumption.

GDP (volume)
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 23.0
2017Quarter 32.8
2017Quarter 42.6
2018Quarter 12.6
2018Quarter 22.7
2018Quarter 32.2
2018Quarter 41.9
2019Quarter 11.9
2019Quarter 22.0
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
2021Quarter 210.4
2021Quarter 35.0

Consumers spent more on accommodation and food services, recreation and culture

In Q3 2021, consumers spent 5.0 percent more than in Q3 2020. They spent mainly more on accommodation and food services, recreation and culture, transportation and communication, and clothing. Accommodation and food services were accessible again until midnight. Sport activities were also held in the third quarter and the public was allowed to attend. Small-scale events were allowed and museums and amusement parks were able to receive visitors again.

Public consumption grew by 2.2 percent year-on-year, mainly due to additional spending on COVID-19 testing and vaccinations by municipal health services (GGDs).

More investments in machinery and dwellings

In Q3 2021, the volume of investments in fixed assets was 2.3 percent up on the same quarter last year. Investments were mainly up in machinery and dwellings. Investments in software and R&D were also higher than one year previously. Investments in passenger cars, on the other hand, were lower.

More machinery, chemical and metal products exported

Exports of goods and services in Q3 2021 were 7.2 percent up year-on-year. More machinery, chemical and metal products were exported in particular. Exports of Dutch-manufactured goods were over 4 percent higher, while re-exports (the export of previously imported products) grew by almost 11 percent. Exports of services were also higher than in the third quarter of 2020. This is mainly due to airline services, royalties and licences, travel agency services, transport support services and commission trade.

Imports of goods and services grew by 6.0 percent. The trade balance made a positive contribution to economic growth.

Expenditure (volume), Q3 2021
CategoryCompared to Q3 2020 (% change)Compared to Q3 2019 (% change)
Household consumption5-0.3
Fixed capital formation2.3-4.4
Government consumption2.25.8

Growth in almost all sectors

The value added (i.e. output minus consumption of energy, materials and services) in the business services sector saw the strongest growth, at 11.1 percent. Specialised business services (including research and consulting firms), temporary employment and travel services contributed to this in particular. The value added of temporary employment and travel services was still lower than two years previously.

The value added in trade, transportation and accommodation and food services was 7.6 percent higher in Q3 2021 than twelve months previously. The transportation and trade sectors grew in particular. Accommodation and food services also showed growth. The value added in transportation and accommodation and food services was still lower compared to two years previously.

The manufacturing industry grew by almost 6 percent. The machinery, metal, electrotechnical and chemical industries contributed to this in particular. The construction sector was up by almost 2 percent.

The value added of the care sector was 3.5 percent higher than in Q3 2020. Growth was mainly attributable to the GGDs.

The sector culture, recreation, sports and other services achieved 8.6 percent more output in Q3 2021 than twelve months previously. Growth was seen in sports, recreation, arts and culture. For this sector as well, pre-coronavirus levels are still a long way off.

Value added by sector (volume), Q3 2021
SectorCompared to Q3 2020 (% change)Compared to Q3 2019 (% change)
Business services11.11.7
Information and communication10.910.2
Culture, recreation, other services8.6-18
Electricity and gas supply8.517
Trade, transportation, accommodation and food serving7.63.7
Mining and quarrying7.1-32.8
Real estate activities2.75.4
Agriculture, forestry and fishing2.52.6
Public services, education and care2.44.4
Water supply and waste management0.2-2.5
Financial institutions-1.3-4

First estimate

The first estimate is published 45 days after the end of a quarter and is conducted based on information available at that moment. It provides an initial picture of the state of the Dutch economy. After the first estimate, new data continue to pour in which are used to make new calculations. The second estimate on economic growth will be released on Friday 24 December. In absolute terms, the adjustment of the second estimate relative to the first estimate has averaged nearly 0.04 percentage points over the past five years, with the two extremes ranging between -0.2 and 0.1 percentage points.

With each new estimate, CBS also determines the new seasonally adjusted figures on previously published quarters. This recalculation has not resulted in an adjustment of figures over the previous three quarters.