2015: manufacturing - marginally positive but fragile

For 2015, Orgalime economists foresee a slowdown of global economic growth in 2015. Growth in output is expected to be modest at 1.2% for 2015 and 1.1% in 2016 for the engineering industries.” Commented Sandro Bonomi, President of Orgalime. “The economic forecasts mention a slowdown of activity in emerging market economies and a rise in downward risks for the global economy. Many of our companies are export oriented; the weak euro is therefore an advantage and real boost for many of them; however the situation in Russia has impacted some companies quite hard.

Orgalime estimates that the engineering industry’s total turnover value in the European Union is about €1800 billion in 2014. The number of employees in the industry is over 10.3 million people.

All sectors of the engineering industry grew in 2014 however some sectors fared better than others. In 2015 all sectors will also grow however the rates of growth will vary between branches of the industry: mechanical engineering performed best in 2014 with a +2.1% growth rate whereas electrical, electronics and instrument industries will fare best in 2015 with a +1.8% growth rate.

In total, these developments resulted in a growth of 1.7% in 2014 and are expected to reach a +1.2% in 2015 as a whole for the European engineering industry. Due to a slowdown of global economic growth, our economists had to adjust their expectations since last spring.

The good news has been on the employment front, where notably an increase of 30.000 employees in the mechanical engineering sector, led total employment in the Orgalime industries increased by 0.3% in 2014. For 2015, employment is expected to contract marginally by 0.2%, but in 2016, it is expected to rise by the same percentage.

Concluded Adrian Harris, Director General of Orgalime, “Our industry has always been successful through technology and innovation and it is Europe’s foremost manufacturing employer. Today’s economic situation is something of a challenge: companies are faced with externalities which are difficult to predict and manage. Where the EU can and must help is to create the right framework conditions here in the EU to help to turn around the economy in the internal market.  For our industry, on the positive side, the rapid digitalisation of companies is opening the prospects for growth. It is time therefore that regulators in Brussels fully embrace the opportunities that this rapid technological development is bringing in all spheres – productivity, resource efficiency, growth and therefore employment - and to move away from the traditional regulatory approach, which has impacted manufacturing investment in Europe.

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