2006 ending on positive economic note

A flurry of year-end figures on Thursday are further sign of the strength of the Dutch economy, now growing at its fastest rate since 2000, says national statistics office CBS.

In the third quarter, the economy grew by 2.7%, slightly higher than earlier estimates and double the 2005 figure. The Dutch economy (€500bn) is the fourth biggest in the eurozone.
Exports remain the main motor behind the positive performance.
The CBS also says that the number of jobs has risen to its highest level in four years at 7.63 million. Wage costs were up 1.3% in the past quarter, in line with inflation. Strongest job growth was in business services which accounted for 91,000 of the 110,000 new jobs – most of which were filled by temporary staff.
However, the number of people employed in industry fell for the 20th consecutive quarter. Over the past five years, 135,000 jobs in industry have disappeared.
Consumer confidence is also slightly up, the CBS says. It is the first time since 2000 that the year has ended with more optimism than pessimism.

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