In the third quarter 2015, demand prospects in the manufacturing industry have continued to improveQuarterly business survey (goods-producing industries) - October 2015

In October 2015, more industrialists than in July judge that global demand has climbed in the past months, the corresponding balance being above its mean level. However, the balance of opinion on foreign demand has dropped to its long period average. Over the next three months, more industrialists anticipate a further improvement of global demand and especially of foreign demand; the corresponding balances of opinion are above average. Otherwise, less industrialists have indicated difficulties of supply only (15% against 21% in July), that proportion has become inferior to its long-term average.

Informations rapides
No 260
Paru le : 22/10/2015
Prochaine parution le : 24/10/2017 at 08:45 - October 2017

Brighter demand prospects

In October 2015, more industrialists than in July judge that global demand has climbed in the past months, the corresponding balance being above its mean level. However, the balance of opinion on foreign demand has dropped to its long period average. Over the next three months, more industrialists anticipate a further improvement of global demand and especially of foreign demand; the corresponding balances of opinion are above average. Otherwise, less industrialists have indicated difficulties of supply only (15% against 21% in July), that proportion has become inferior to its long-term average.

Pressure on production capacity virtually stable

Since April 2015, the industrialists have considered that the pressure on production capacity is almost unchanged. The production capacity utilisation rate is virtually stable compared to the previous quarter (82.5%). Since the third quarter of 2008, production capacity has been less used in the manufacturing industry than it was on average between 1994 and 2007.

However, an increasing number of industrialists consider that they could not produce more if they received more orders: the balance on production bottlenecks, already above the normal, has continued to increase.

tableau1 – Industrialists' opinion: demand and production factors

Balance of opinion, in %
Industrialists' opinion: demand and production factors
Manufacturing industry Mean* Jan. 15 April 15 July 15 Oct. 15
Global demand
Past change 0 –3 3 3 5
Future change 1 2 5 5 6
Foreign demand
Past change 3 8 7 9 3
Future change 5 6 10 11 15
Production factors
Production bottlenecks (in %) 22 24 23 25 29
Assessment of productive capacity 14 14 14 20 15
Productive capacity utilisation rate (in %) 84,5 80,7 82,3 82,3 82,5
Difficulties of supply and demand
Difficulties of supply and demand 8 9 12 11 10
Difficulties of supply 20 13 14 21 15
Difficulties of demand 44 44 39 37 39
  • * : Long-term average since 1976.
  • The results of the last survey are preliminary.
  • Source: Quarterly business survey - INSEE

Slowdown in job losses

In October 2015, less industrialists than in July reported a decrease of the workforce during the past three months. Over the next few months, industrialists are also less to forecast job losses.

Less than a third of the industrialists have experienced hiring difficulties; this part is virtually stable since April 2013 at its long-term average.

Graphang3 – Workforce size in the manufacturing industry

Slight increase in wages

According to the business managers in the manufacturing industry, wages have increased by 0.3% in the third quarter of 2015.

The balance of opinion on weekly working time is virtually stable. Slightly more industrialists than in July anticipate an increase in this working time over the next few months.

A drop of selling prices

According to industrialists, selling prices in the manufacturing industry dropped in the third quarter of 2015 (–1.5% after +0.1%); they forecast a further decline for the next quarter (–1.4%).

Almost as many industrialists, as in the previous quarter, have experienced cash-flow problems (13%). This proportion stands below its mean level.

Deterioration of the opinion on competitive position

In October 2015, business managers judge that their competitive position has deteriorated in all the markets. The corresponding balances have fallen and have become inferior to their long-term average. However, general exportation prospects are promising: the corresponding balance is virtually stable, significantly above its long period average.

tableau2 – Industrialists' opinion: employment, competitive position, cash-flow, wages and selling prices

Balance of opinion, in %
Industrialists' opinion: employment, competitive position, cash-flow, wages and selling prices
Manufacturing industry Mean Jan. 15 April 15 July 15 Oct. 15
Workforce size
Past change –11 –10 –6 –9 –7
Expected change –13 –11 –8 –9 –6
Difficulties hiring 28 27 27 29 28
Working time
Past change –3 0 2 1 2
Expected change –5 –1 0 –1 1
Cash-flow and wages
Cash-flow problems 15 12 12 13 13
Past wages 0,5 0,3 0,2 0,3 0,3
Selling prices
Past change 0,1 –1,2 1,0 0,1 –1,5
Expected change 0,2 –1,1 –0,2 –0,2 –1,4
Competitive position
On domestic market 1 0 –2 0 –4
On foreign markets inside EU –1 –3 –1 2 –6
On foreign markets outside EU –1 0 9 2 –4
General exportation expectations –10 –2 7 5 4
  • * : Long-term average since 1976.
  • The results of the last survey are preliminary.
  • A quantitative question is asked about selling prices and past wage.
  • Source: Quarterly business survey - INSEE