Sharp drop in Dutch economy: Statistics Netherlands

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The Dutch economy has experienced a drop of 1.4 percent in the first quarter of 2014. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), this was caused by lower gas usage due to the mild Winter. The bureau does say that the economy is still in recovery, despite the drop. 

After three quarters of economic growth, the first quarter estimates from the CBS point to a drop in the economy by 1.4 percent from the previous quarter. A strong decrease in national gas usage and export due to the relatively soft Winter strongly influenced the drop. The first quarter of 2013 was colder than average.

Despite this, the economy is still showing signs of recovery. Investments are rising, industry is still recovering and more part time workers were sent in at companies. In the business services industry, there were 13 thousand more jobs than a year earlier. According to the CBS, this notes the first phase in the recovery of job availability.

The job market, however, is not seeing a noticeable recovery. The number of jobs decreased with 32 thousand in the first quarter, compared with the last quarter figures. The care sector saw the biggest loss, with employee courses dropping by 43 thousand, about 3 percent. Construction jobs decreased by 6.9 percent.

Natural gas was not exported as much this quarter as last year. With the exception of agricultural products, export in general saw growth. Especially the export of chemical and electronic products as well as metal products went up.

Household usage of gas was also driven down by the warm weather, almost a third lower than the previous year. Consumers also spent less on food and luxury items, partially because Easter fell in the second quarter this year, while the holiday partially fell in the first quarter in 2013. The hotels and restaurants sector profited from the warmth, however. Consumers also spent more on clothing and electronics.

Investments were up last quarter compared to the previous year. Construction investments rose especially, partially due to favorable weather. Companies also invested more into machines and computers.

Industrial growth was helped in part by more foreign demand. The sector rose by 4 percent from last year. Except for mineral extraction and power supply, financial institutions were the only ones who experienced a drop.