Dutch economy to keep growing; unemployment lowest since 2001

The Dutch economy will continue to grow strongly this year and next year, according to expectations announced by the Netherlands office for economic policy analysis CPB on Tuesday. Next year unemployment will drop to its lowest level since 2001, NU.nl reports.

The CPB expects the Dutch economy to grow by 3.2 percent this year, 0.1 percent more than the office's previous expectation. In 2019 the economic growth will decline but still be strong at 2.7 percent. That puts the Dutch economic growth 0.6 percent above that of the eurozone. The Netherlands benefits from the international boom, low interest rates, government spending and the growing housing market.

Unemployment in the Netherlands will fall from 4.9 percent in 2017 to 3.9 percent this year and 3.5 percent in 2019 - the lowest level since 2001. This will make it more difficult for employers to find staff, meaning that companies will increasingly offer permanent contracts and pay higher wages to attract and keep people. 

The average purchasing power of all households is expected to increase by 1.6 percent in 2019. For working people, the average purchasing power will increase by 1.8 percent, for people on welfare benefits by 0.8 percent, and for pensioners by 1.3 percent, the CPB expects. 

Inflation is expected to increase by 1.6 percent this year and 2.3 percent next year. The Dutch government balance will not improve despite the continued economic growth. Last year the government had a surplus of 1.1 percent of the gross domestic product, this year it will be 0.7 percent and next year 0.9 percent. 

"Citizens and companies will increasingly notice the economic growth.That is also a good starting point for the major societal challenges we face, such as the energy- and climate issue and keeping our healthcare costs affordable", Minister Eric Wiebes of Economic Affairs said in response to these figures. "If we look to the future, international uncertainty and possible protectionism pose a risk to the Dutch economy. Think of our intensive trade relationship with the United Kingdom and the Brexit, or the threat of import duties in the United States. The government will continue to work for free trade and a level playing field."