The latest flurry of economic indicators is giving Dutch households and businesses reasons to be optimistic about The Dutch economy.
According to the CBS Business Cycle Tracer, the economic situation is improving further in February. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that all indicators published mid-February are performing above the level of their long-term average.
Statistics Netherlands’ Business Cycle Tracer is a tool used to monitor the economic situation and economic developments. It uses thirteen key macro-economic indicators, which – together – provide a coherent picture of the state of the Dutch economy as published by CBS during the last month or quarter.
The consumer confidence indicator improved in January to the highest level in more than 9 years. The marginal increase in January is due to the positive mood among consumers about the economic climate.
Producer confidence among Dutch manufacturers reached its highest level in almost 9 years. Manufacturers are much more positive about their order books. Producer and consumer confidence are both above the level of their long-term average.
Household consumption and exports growing, investments declining
Consumer spending in Q4 2016 was well above the level of Q4 2015. It was the strongest growth in 9 years. Dutch consumers spent more on clothing, cars and electrical equipment.
Due to the relatively low temperatures in November and December, natural gas consumption was also significantly higher. Consumers also spent more in hotels and restaurants and on recreational and cultural services.
Exports of goods and services grew somewhat faster in Q4 2016 than in Q3. Exports of chemical products, natural gas and – to a lesser extent- machinery and food products were above the level of one year previously. Re-exports (exports of imported products) grew more rapidly than exports of products manufactured in the Netherlands.
In Q4 2016 investments declined for the first time in approximately 3 years, in particular in aircraft and private cars, but investments in residential property grew considerably, albeit less than in Q3.
The average daily output generated by Dutch manufacturing industry was 4.7 percent up in December 2016 from December 2015. The growth rate was higher than in November. Over the past fifteen months, Dutch manufacturing output has continually been above the level of the same month one year previously. The output is currently at the highest level ever.
Slightly fewer bankruptcies in January
The number of companies declared bankrupt dropped slightly in January 2017, by 7 relative to December 2016.
The number of jobs held by employees and self-employed rose by 53 thousand in Q4 2016, i.e. the most substantial increase in 5 years. The number of new job vacancies grew by 8 thousand, while unemployment was reduced by 29 thousand.
In the last quarter of 2016, there were on average 10.1 million jobs. The number of jobs has grown for eleven quarters in a row. Since Q1 2014, a total of 306 thousand new jobs have been created: 278 thousand employee jobs and 28 thousand jobs for self-employed.
Relative to Q4 2015, the total number of jobs in the Netherlands has increased by 138 thousand.
In Q4 2016 unemployment fell by 29 thousand compared to Q3. The rate of unemployment decreased from 5.8 to 5.5. The decrease in unemployment is noticeable across all age groups.
Turnover generated by temp agencies, job recruitment consultants and staff managers grew by 1.0 percent in Q3 2016 relative to the preceding quarter. Growth is less substantial than in Q2. The number of hours worked in temp jobs also increased further in Q3. Growth is based on an increase in short-term as well as long-term employment contracts.
The gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.5 percent in Q4 2016 relative to Q3 2016 as the first estimate of GDP conducted by CBS shows. GDP is a measure of the size of a country’s economy. Exports and household consumption were the main contributors to economic growth. The GDP growth rate was 2.3 percent in Q4 2016 compared to Q3 2015.
On Friday 24 March 2017, CBS will publish the second estimate on economic growth and employment in Q4 2016 and economic growth and employment developments for the entire year 2016.