New UN report says European recession keeping manufacturing rates low

Silk manufacturing in China. Photo: UNIDO

15 February 2013 – A prolonged recession in industrialized countries and its negative impact on developing and emerging economies kept the world manufacturing output low in 2012, says a new United Nations report released today.

According to the world manufacturing production statistics for 2012, published by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), world manufacturing output grew by 2.2 per cent in 2012, significantly lower than the 3.1 per cent projected midway through last year.

The world’s industrialized countries experienced particularly low manufacturing value added (MVA) growth of an average rate of 0.3 per cent, according to the International Yearbook of Industrial Statistics.

Meanwhile, developing and emerging industrial economies’ combined share of world MVA in 2012 stood at 35 per cent. Their gains were largely negated by the sustained recession in Europe.

The global economic crisis beginning in 2009 has not only forced huge job cuts in the manufacturing sector of industrialized countries but has also pulled labour productivity down, the Vienna-based agency reported.

In the longer term, that number is expected to remain high because more countries will transition from developing to industrialized. The 2013 Yearbook includes revised country groups, with Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in the group of industrialized economies.

Among the least developed countries, Asian countries have a higher manufacturing growth rate than African countries, 8.7 per cent per annum compared to 5.9 per cent. The difference is linked to constraints on external trade with Asian countries geographically closer to fast-growing economies.

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