Report Reveals Impact of Covid-19 on Manufacturing Activity

UNIDO Statistics based on data from official national sources
UNIDO Statistics based on data from official national sources

Many of the higher technological industries already reached and exceeded the pre-pandemic production levels.

The most recent data on global manufacturing production, corresponding to the third quarter of 2021, indicate a stabilization after the Covid-19-related economic halt in the previous year. 

While the economic trajectories vary significantly among countries, most economies experienced solid increases in manufacturing production compared to 2020. Furthermore, higher technology industries had a better production performance and, therefore, recovered faster. 

However, renewed restrictions to fight another infection wave since November 2021, as well as the appearance of new coronavirus variants, may again threaten the economic recovery and future prosperity.

The latest UNIDO World Manufacturing Report, published by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), includes the most recent official data on global manufacturing production and points to a stabilizing year-over-year growth of 5.7 percent in the third quarter of 2021. 

However, the report also shows a different pace of recovery across regions. China, for example, quickly bounced back and already exceeded its pre-pandemic production level since the third quarter of 2020. 

Nevertheless, in the current quarter, China experienced the lowest annual growth rate (4.6 percent) since 2006, excluding the first two pandemic-related quarters in 2020. Production in developing and emerging industrial economies (Dev. and EIE) has recorded a greater volatility, even falling below pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter of 2021, as the pandemic has affected countries in this group at different periods. 

Industrialized economies, on the other hand, exceeded their pre-pandemic production level since the first quarter of 2021 and are now facing a stable year-over-year growth of 6.1 percent.

The UNIDO report also reveals varying trends across different industrial sectors. Output of industries using medium-high- and high-technology increased by 7.1 percent in the third quarter of 2021, while lower technology industries faced slightly lower increases of around four percent. 

Many of the higher technological industries already reached and exceeded the pre-pandemic production levels. However, the manufacturing of motor vehicles, for example, was not able to reach production levels prior to the pandemic and even faced a year-over-year output reduction of 8.9 percent due to supply chain difficulties.

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Rakesh Raman