Dutch economy recovers to pre-crisis levels; Disposable income up

Last year the Dutch economy grew slightly more than Statistics Netherlands calculated based on preliminary figures last month. According to the statistics office, the economy grew by 2 percent, instead of 1.9 percent, and is now back up to pre-crisis levels. Dutch households also have more disposable income and consumer spending was significantly higher in the last quarter of 2015 than a year earlier.

Compared to the third quarter, the Dutch economy grew by 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, the same as the first estimate. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2014, the economy grew by 1.6 percent.

The number of jobs, including both employees and self-employed, increased by 60 thousand compared in the fourth quarter, compared to the third quarter. IN the first estimate Statistics Netherlands reported a 48 thousand jobs increase.

Dutch households' disposable income also increased in the fourth quarter of 2015. Compared to the same quarter in 2014, disposable income rose by 2.1 percent. "This growth reflects the increase in job opportunities." Statistics Netherlands writes. Actual wages, adjusted for inflation, also increased by 1.8 percent.

The general government deficit amounted to 1.8 percent of the gross domestic product in 2016. That is 0.6 percent less than in 2014. For the third consecutive year the Netherlands complied to the European rules which state that the government deficit must not rise to more than 3 percent of GDP. In 2012 the Netherlands' deficit was 3.9 percent.

The government debt also decreased relative to the GDP. Last year the government debt was 65.1 percent of GDP, compared to 68.2 percent in 2014. The debt is still higher than the European maximum of 60 percent.