Industry drop points to recession

The industry sector is showing a significant drop in turnover and new orders, according to official figures, creating major worries both among professionals in the sector and in the government. Small as it is, the Greek industry seems to be crumbling month by month and it is taking with it thousands of employees, whose future appears more uncertain than ever. The National Statistical Service (NSS) announced yesterday that industry turnover dropped by 23 percent in April compared to the same month last year, while new orders posted a decline of 33.7 percent year-on-year. A few days earlier, NSS had announced that industrial production slid by 11.7 percent in April relative to the same month in 2008. The drop in new orders is certain to have a negative impact on future production, as the index of new orders is an indication of demand for industrial products. The decline began last August and continued unabated throughout the first four months of this year. Similarly, the decline in industrial turnover has continued for the fourth consecutive month this year. This picture in the sector partly explains the loss of a number of jobs, which has had an impact on the country’s unemployment rate. Combined with the slowdown in construction and consumption, it serves to explain why the Greek economy will find itself in recession this year, as forecast by the European Commission, all international organizations and the Bank of Greece. The drop in turnover in April was due to the considerable fall in mining output, which reaches 32.6 percent on an annual basis, as well as the 22.9-percent contraction in the turnover of manufacturing industries. Of the 25 manufacturing sectors, 23 posted a decline in sales volume, led by machinery and other mechanical equipment with a 42.7 percent annual decline. Electrical equipment also posted a major drop of 41.1 percent in April.