Consumer spending pushed Dutch economic growth in first quarter
The Dutch economy grew in the first three months of this year compared to the closing quarter of 2021 after all. The growth amounted to 0.4 percent, according to a new estimate by Statistics Netherlands (CBS). A previous estimate showed stagnation. The growth was mainly due to additional household consumption.
Due to the end of the coronavirus lockdown at the end of January, consumers spent more in the catering industry, the culture and recreation sector, and gyms in the first quarter. Ultimately, these expenditures turned out to be higher than previously estimated. In addition, government spending decreased less than in the previous estimate.
The second calculation is published 85 days after the end of the quarter. The first calculator is 45 days after the end of a quarter based on the information available at the time.
Compared to the same period last year, the Dutch economy grew by 6.7 percent instead of the previous estimate’s 7 percent. The strong growth is due to the coronavirus restrictions - the Netherlands was in hard lockdown in the first quarter of 2021.
The downward revision is mainly due to higher imports of goods and services, while the growth of exports was slightly smaller. As a result, the trade balance’s contribution to economic growth was smaller than in the first calculation.
In addition, the number of jobs in the first quarter grew by 109,000 compared to the end of 2021. That was 127,000 in the previous estimate. On an annual basis, jobs increased by 537,000 instead of 518,000.
Households also generally had more income in the first quarter of this year compared to a year ago, CBS said. Higher wages and job growth, among other things, caused households' real disposable income - disposable income less inflation - to increase.
According to CBS, the income of both employees and self-employed was higher. Total pay increased by almost 8 percent. The number of jobs rose by over 5 percent, and the number of hours worked increased by 7.6 percent. Collective bargaining wages increased by 2.5 percent on average.
Households did pay 6.5 percent more in taxes and social security contributions. The number of social assistance benefits, for example, occupational disability, also increased.
CBS also reported that mortgage debt has increased in the first quarter by over 10 billion euros to more than 795 billion euros. But because the economy grew faster than mortgage debt, it decreased as a percentage of gross domestic product. This percentage dropped from 91.7 percent in the last quarter of 2021 to 90.4 percent in the first quarter of this year. This is the lowest level since the second quarter of 2004.
Reporting by ANP