Dutch economy in record decline since WWII

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The economy shrank 4.5 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2009 and is the biggest decline since WWII.

The Netherlands – The Dutch economy shrank by 2.8 percent in the first quarter of 2009 compared with the final quarter of last year, said Statistics Netherlands on Friday.

The decline, is the worst quarter-on-quarter shrinkage ever measured by Statistics Netherlands, and is much sharper than expected. 

Year on year, the economy shrank by 4.5 percent and is the biggest decline since WWII.

Exports and investments were hit hard, showing losses of over 10 percent.

For the first time in years, private consumption was down. However, government expenditure increased notably on health and social care.

Employment is causing concern, with employers recruiting far less, leading to a low in vacancies.

Towards the end of March there were only 152,000 vacancies, which are 100,000 fewer than half a year earlier.

Economy Minister Maria van der Hoeven said while the figures are "not really comforting", it was unnecessary to alter the crisis measures that the cabinet agreed on earlier this year.

The figures indicate "we're not out of trouble yet," added Van der Hoeven.

The minister points out that the statistics are about the past, while the cabinet measures are forward-looking and aim at recovery.

Deputy Prime Minister André Rouvoet said he was shocked by the figures, but saw no reason to adjust the crisis package.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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