Regional economic growth, 2012

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The Dutch economy contracted 1.2 % in 2012 and has been in recession since the second quarter of 2011 preceded by a period of economic recovery after the historic 3.7 % downturn in 2009.

Dutch economy

In 2012, the Dutch economy (GDP) shrank by 1.2%. The construction sector was hit hardest, but the sectors wholesale and retail trade and financial institutions, which made a substantial contribution to the Dutch economy, also had a hard time of it. Manufacturing industry, the most important sector in Dutch economy, shrank marginally by 1%. 'Health care' and 'rental services and trade in immovable property' were the only important sectors in the Dutch economy to show a modest growth by 2 and 1.5% respectively.

Groningen benefits from mineral extraction

From a regional perspective, the provinces of North Brabant, Overijssel, Gelderland and Friesland did not perform well in 2012. The economies in these provinces contracted by 1.5 to 1.7%. Across all these provinces, manufacturing industry is an important economic factor. In these regions, manufacturing industry was 2% down. Due to natural gas extraction, the province of Groningen recorded a marginal economic growth in 2012. If mineral extraction is not taken into account, the economy in the province of Groningen shrank 1.0 %; the province of Zeeland performed best with a marginal negative growth of 0.2%. The chemical industry, an important economic factor in the province of Zeeland achieved good results in 2012. In Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen, chemical industry is extremely important. With a growth exceeding 3 %, Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen is the only COROP area apart from the COROP area 'other Groningen' (0.3%) to show economic growth in 2012.
With an average annual growth of 2.2 %, Groningen performed best, if the entire period 2010-2012 is considered. Here, too, mineral extraction has a disproportionate effect on the economy: excluding mineral extraction, the economy annually contracted by an average of 0.5%. The sector mineral extraction accounts for 40% of value added in this province. Because the province hardly benefits from the extraction of natural gas in relation to the value added, provinces are henceforth compared without taking mineral extraction into account. The province of Flevoland reported the highest growth rate (1.1%), due to a thriving wholesale trade sector. On average, the province of Utrecht achieved the second poorest results after Groningen with an annual negative growth rate of 0.3%, predominantly caused by the sector financial institutions, but the difference between Utrecht and Gelderland is only marginal. The economy in Gelderland shrank by 0.2% over the period 2010-2012. Developments in the construction sector had a negative effect on the economy.

Relevant information

  • More economic data and information on employment can be found under the subject [onderwerp=nl0037]
  • More data on regional accounts can be accessed in StatLine, the database of Statistics Netherlands.

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Reference of this webpage

CBS, PBL, RIVM, WUR (2024). Regional economic growth, 2012 (indicator 2065, version 03,

) Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Hague; PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague; RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven; and Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen.