Dutch economy slightly improving: more job vacancies
A recent examination of several key macro-economic indicators, undertaken by Statistics Netherlands’ Business Cycle Tracer, suggests the economy is improving - but only slightly.
The Dutch economy: how’s it looking?
Steady economic recovery was recorded in the twelve months between spring 2013 and spring 2014. However, since then, improvements in the Dutch economy have come to a relative standstill.
In November 2014 there was a fine line between economic improvements - such as higher investment and the increased creation of new jobs - and economic setbacks - such as a reduction in household spending - with positive results narrowly outweighing negative ones.
Overall, the Dutch economy grew by 0,2 per cent between the second and third quarters of 2014.
Good news for the labour market
In general, the labour market has been continuing its tentative recovery. There was a small increase of four to 13 per cent in the number of positions created in the first three quarters of 2014, positive news for those looking for a job in the Netherlands.
Bankruptcy levels have also dropped by 29 per cent since November 2013, they are now significantly lower than when bankruptcy peaked in mid-2013.
The recent results also revealed that levels of unemployment have remained relatively stable over recent months, with around 627.000 people remaining out of work. A rise in temporary work was noted towards the end of 2014, this growth is attributed to the increasing numbers of workers on temporary contracts.
Consumers more negative, producers more positive
Economic analysis has also revealed that consumer confidence dropped in November 2014, eight per cent down from November 2013, as public feeling regarding the economy grew more negative. This marks a difference compared with mid-2014, when consumer confidence was at its highest since 2011.
Yet despite fluctuations in consumer attitudes, willingness to buy has remained steady.
On the other hand, attitudes amongst Dutch manufacturers have brightened. Manufacturers reported feeling more confident about output and stocks of finished products.
Household spending down
There was a small decrease of 0,6 per cent in household spending on goods and services recorded between September 2013 and September 2014.
At present, consumers in the Netherlands are spending more on food, drinks and services, and less on goods like natural gas and motor fuel.
Investments and exports up
However, there is good news concerning investments. The number of investments in tangible fixed assets rose three per cent in the twelve months between September 2013 and September 2014. In line with improving business confidence, there was more spending on computers and machinery, as companies invest to increase their production capacity.
There has also been a marked increase, more than six per cent, of exported goods since September 2013.