Netherlands: Economic outlook brighter despite high unemployment, welfare
Despite the still high unemployment rate and number of people on welfare benefits, the economic outlook in the Netherlands is somewhat brighter in November than a month ago. Almost all key signals for the state of the Dutch economy are on green this month. This is according to figures released by Statistics Netherlands on Monday. The confidence of manufacturing companies increased in November, especially about future production. Consumer confidence rose again and is currently at its highest level in 8 years. Both producer and consumer confidence is well above their long-term average. Investments showed a significant growth in September, with the volume of investments in tangible fixed assets more than 12 percent higher than in September last year. Consumers spent 2 percent more on goods and services in September, compared to the same month last year. Exports grew by 1 percent. And the average daily output of the Dutch manufacturing industry was almost 1 percent higher than a year earlier. While the number of people on welfare benefits is still high, that number remained stable over the last six months - not increasing for the first time in six years. At the end of September, there were 442 thousand welfare recipients below state pension age, the same amount as six months earlier. Up until early this year, the number of welfare recipients increased almost constantly, in total by 138 thousand. Although the total number of welfare recipients did not change, there were shifts and falls within the age groups. Between March and September, the number of people on welfare under the age of 45 years fell by more than 3 thousand. The number over the age of 45 increased by approximately the same number. When compared to September last year, the number of people on welfare benefits increased. End of September this year, the number of people receiving welfare benefits was 3 to 4 percent higher than September 2014. The number of people claiming unemployment benefits is showing a downward trend since February last year in all age groups, except for people over 55 years old. In this age group the number of unemployment benefits doubled over the past five years - 62 thousand unemployed 55 year olds and older in September 2010 and 135 thousand September this year. The number of unemployment benefits claimed by people between the ages of 15 and 25 years old remained the lowest of all age groups. According to Statistics Netherlands, this can partly be attributed to the fact that people in this group have not been working for very long and are usually only entitled to three months of unemployment benefits. Though most of them stopped receiving unemployment because they found a job. People in the older age groups have been working for many years, so they are entitled to a benefit for longer. Older unemployed people are fare less likely to find a way out of unemployment benefits to paid work.