The Dutch economy grew by 0.7% in the final three months of last year, showing the recovery is gathering pace, the national statistics office CBS says on Friday. The economy grew by 0.2% in the previous quarter. Company investments were up by a hefty 5.3% compared with the year earlier period as firms invested more in cars, machinery and IT. Exports rose 0.4%. At the same time, however, consumer spending fell 0.8%. Households have now cut their outgoings for almost three years in a row. Spending was down on food, energy and fuel but up on clothes, cars and furniture, the CBS says. There were also fewer jobs available. In the fourth quarter, the number of jobs in the Dutch economy fell by 8,000 compared with previous quarter. Economic affairs minister Henk Kamp said in a reaction: 'We can now leave that difficult period behind us.' Nevertheless, it will still take some time before employment levels recover, the minister said.