SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch economy expanded by 1.7% last year, its lowest level since 2014, the national statistics office CBS said on Thursday in its latest economic update.
The Dutch economy grew 2.6% in 2018. Consumer spending also continued to rise in 2018, going up 1.4%, but this too is down on the 2% growth recorded in the two preceding years.
The number of jobs was up 1.7% and the number of vacancies reached 291,000 by the end of the year. The unemployment rate remains 3.3%. Wages are beginning to rise as the shortage of skilled workers begins to bite, the CBS said.
Wages rose an average of 2.6% last year but collective pay deals agreed in the first month of 2020 included an average pay rise of 3.2%. The number of people on permanent job contracts is also going up, the CBS said, rising from 5.4 million to 5.6 million last year.
There was also a corresponding drop in the number of people with flexible contracts. Inflation has also gone down from 2.7% to 1.8% because the impact of last year’s energy bill hikes and VAT increases has now been absorbed.