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2021 would be a tough year for the economy, Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra predicted on Budget Day last year.
That worked out well in the end.
The signals are now green again, with low unemployment and an economy that is growing strongly both this year and next, even in the event of a new lockdown.
This is apparent from the new Macro Economic Outlook, which the Central Planning Bureau (CPB) presents every year on Budget Day.
The agency expects the economy to grow by 3.9 percent this year compared to last year.
This means that the pre-pandemic level has almost been reached.
There will also be growth next year, with a plus of 3.5 percent.
And even if there is a new lockdown, there will be growth this year and next.
Although with percentages of 3.3 and 2.2 respectively, it is somewhat smaller than without contact-limiting measures.
Unemployment rates are also favourable.
The planning bureau expects unemployment to remain at 3.4 percent this year.
Rarely in the past fifteen years has that percentage been lower.
Unemployment is expected to rise slightly in the coming year, to 3.5 percent.
This is mainly because the caretaker cabinet will largely discontinue the corona support package at the end of this month.
As soon as that support disappears, a small part of the companies will still go bankrupt.
As a result, some lose their jobs.
A possible new lockdown could also lead to extra unemployed people, although that number will probably remain limited because the cabinet will probably breathe new life into the corona support package with a new lockdown.
Big contrast with Prinsjesdag last year
The positive tenor contrasts sharply with the ominous messages of Prinsjesdag last year.
Then Hoekstra said that the biggest blow was yet to come and that unemployment would rise.
"We must brace ourselves for the consequences of a severe economic setback," King Willem-Alexander said in the speech from the throne last year.
And then it was not even known that there would be a second lockdown.
Now, a year later, it turns out to be the best.
The economy turned out to be more resilient than expected, the large staff shortage kept unemployment low and the treasury remained in order, because even the tens of billions of euros that the cabinet spent on corona support for companies did not lead to a high public debt.
Isn't there a single speck in the air?
For example, the CPB points to the rapidly rising house prices and the inequality between buyers and tenants that this entails.
In addition, those high prices can make the economy less stable, because a sudden drop in prices causes problems.
The same goes for high share prices.
Most households hardly make any progress
In addition, most households will see little or no improvement in the coming year and there is still a lot of uncertainty because there is no new cabinet yet.
The labor market has not yet fully recovered from the corona crisis.
Unemployment may be low, but many self-employed workers work fewer hours than before the pandemic and many flex workers, including migrant workers, have not yet returned.
However, the harsh times predicted last year have not materialized.Keywords: