Greek manufacturing appears to have made the most of the global economic recovery, as in 2021 the local industry recorded a higher turnover not only compared to 2020 but 2019 too – i.e. the last year before the outbreak of the pandemic.
The fact that manufacturing did not grind to a halt in 2020 – even in the domains that suffered a major setback from the drop in demand – played its own part in this impressive comeback of the sector last year. Some industrial enterprises actually adjusted rapidly to the new conditions and changed the mix of their produce so that it better matched the needs created by the pandemic, while others penetrated new markets internationally.
According to the data released recently by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), manufacturing turnover amounted to 71.66 billion euros last year, against €56.51 billion in 2020 and €63.70 billion in 2019. The industrial output index was 8.1% higher in December 2021 than a year earlier, while the average level of the index in January-December 2021 rose 9.9% compared to 2020 and 7.74% from 2019.
The growth in demand and orders led to a considerable advance in employment, too, in industry: In the third quarter of 2021 industry employees expanded by 31,200 or 8.1% year-on-year, to reach 415,600 and outperform the growth in employment across the economy, which amounted to 4.9% in Q3.
The fact Greek manufacturers not only didn’t lose out internationally but also gained access to fresh markets is evidenced by the exports data: Industrial exports amounted to €2.3 billion in November 2021, up by a considerable 27.5% on a year earlier. The share of industrial products among goods exported reached 82%, led by pharmaceuticals.
Eurobank notes that the anticipated smoothening of the health situation will eradicate the temporary factors that led to the high growth rates in manufacturing output, while the main risk for the sector comes from soaring production costs, which in 2021 rose 13.21% per the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE).