Production statistics

What does the survey cover?

The production statistics provide a picture of employment and the financial ins and outs of the various sectors of industry. Statistics Netherlands compiles production statistics for the following sectors of industry: agriculture, mining and quarrying, manufacturing, production and distribution of energy and water, repair of consumer goods, wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants, transport, storage and communication, business and personal services, environmental services and health and welfare.

Target population

Businesses economically active in one of the above-mentioned sectors in the period under review. Sectors and branches of industry are frequently used terms for groups of enterprises classified by main activity. Until Production statistics on 2008 Statistics Netherlands used its Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities 1993 (SIC 1993) in its publications and to classify enterprises by main activity. In 2008 a far-reaching revision of international classifications ISIC and NACE was implemented and also the Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities, based on these international classifications was revised (SIC 2008). By this revision the classifications fit better to modern economic activities Since Production statistics on 2009 Statistics Netherlands uses Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities 2008 (SIC 2008) in its publications and to classify enterprises. 

Statistical unit

Business Statistics Netherlands defines a business as an actual participant in the process of production of goods and/or provision of services, characterised by control over its production process and by the provision of its products and/or services to third parties. Until Production statistics on 2008  all businesses part of enterprise groups belonged to the target population individually.  From Production statistics on 2009 enterprise groups made of small and mediumsized enterprises belong to the target population.

Date/year survey started

The oldest production statistics are those dealing with manufacturing industry. They date back to the early 1950s. Production statistics for other sectors of industry were developed in due course. 



Publication strategy

Usually, definite figures become available 18 months after the year under review. Definite figures are only revised if significant adjustments or corrections are required for whatever reason.

How is the survey conducted?
Type of survey

For small businesses (fewer than ten employees) data for the production statistics are taken from tax registrations as much as possible. In addition, businesses with fewer than 50 employees receive a questionnaire on a sample basis and enterprises with 50 employees or more are all included in the survey.

Survey method

Respondents are allowed to submit the required data electronically or on paper.


Businesses. Tax authorities supply registration data.

Sample size

The sample size varies strongly per sector of industry, as the number of businesses also varies per sector. Overall more than 80,000 enterprises are invited to participate in the survey, about 10 percent of businesses in the Netherlands.

Control and correction methods

Statistics Netherlands conducts plausibility and consistency checks on data received from businesses. The figures are compared with those of the same business in the previous year and, if an enterprise participated in the monthly or quarterly turnover survey, also with these turnover data. If data referring to the previous year are lacking or are too ambiguous, the figures are compared with the averages of similar businesses (i.e. businesses of the same size and active in the same field). If inconsistencies are found they are corrected automatically or manually, if necessary after consulting the business by telephone. From 2009 the very large enterprises are monitored intensively. Point of special interest is the consistency with data submitted for other statistics.


Received data are raised to the total number of enterprises in a sector in the period under review. Data from tax authorities are used as support for businesses employing fewer than ten people. The estimate of non-response distinguishes between very large companies and smaller businesses. The very large companies are unique with respect to structure and development and are usually of crucial importance for providing an accurate picture of the relevant branch. Statistics Netherlands generally uses various data sources to monitor large companies (e.g. from surveys conducted by Statistics Netherlands).

Quality of the results


As the results are mainly based on a sample survey, they are subject to a margin of error.

Sequential comparability

Production statistics aim to show actual developments. Statistics Netherlands corrects for important breaks in series that occur as a result of changes in methods and definitions. This is also applies to errors which become evident afterwards.

Quality strategy

The survey results are only published after the plausibility checks have been carried out. These checks include:
•  time series analyses (consistency in time);
•  indicator analyses (relationship between variables);
•  confrontation with results from other sources.