22 October 2020
N° 2020-267

In October, industrialists have indicated that demand has sharply picked up but should weaken over the next few monthsQuarterly business survey (goods-producing industries) - October 2020

In October 2020, the production capacity utilisation rate in industry has continued to pick up. When in July, it had already recovered by more than half its April fall that was due to the health crisis, it has gained 3 points in October to stand at 78%. Nevertheless, it remains well below its pre-crisis level. While the rate has increased in all industries between July and October, the sharpest rise concerns the manufacture of transport equipment, where the rate had fallen to a very low level.

Informations rapides
No 267
Paru le : Paru le 22/10/2020
Prochaine parution le : 21/01/2021 at 08:45 - January 2021
Informations rapides  No 267 - October 2020

The production capacity rate has continued to recover

In October 2020, the production capacity utilisation rate in industry has continued to pick up. When in July, it had already recovered by more than half its April fall that was due to the health crisis, it has gained 3 points in October to stand at 78%. Nevertheless, it remains well below its pre-crisis level. While the rate has increased in all industries between July and October, the sharpest rise concerns the manufacture of transport equipment, where the rate had fallen to a very low level.

Production capacity utilisation rate

Production capacity utilisation rate
Production capacity utilisation rate
1998-Q1 83.0
1998-Q2 83.3
1998-Q3 84.6
1998-Q4 83.3
1999-Q1 84.0
1999-Q2 83.0
1999-Q3 83.5
1999-Q4 84.3
2000-Q1 83.8
2000-Q2 85.0
2000-Q3 85.5
2000-Q4 86.1
2001-Q1 86.2
2001-Q2 85.8
2001-Q3 84.9
2001-Q4 84.2
2002-Q1 84.1
2002-Q2 85.0
2002-Q3 84.1
2002-Q4 83.3
2003-Q1 83.4
2003-Q2 82.7
2003-Q3 82.6
2003-Q4 82.2
2004-Q1 82.7
2004-Q2 82.6
2004-Q3 82.8
2004-Q4 82.9
2005-Q1 82.7
2005-Q2 82.6
2005-Q3 82.8
2005-Q4 82.4
2006-Q1 83.4
2006-Q2 84.2
2006-Q3 85.1
2006-Q4 85.6
2007-Q1 84.8
2007-Q2 85.9
2007-Q3 85.9
2007-Q4 86.7
2008-Q1 86.4
2008-Q2 85.5
2008-Q3 84.9
2008-Q4 83.2
2009-Q1 75.4
2009-Q2 72.2
2009-Q3 73.3
2009-Q4 75.4
2010-Q1 75.2
2010-Q2 77.5
2010-Q3 77.9
2010-Q4 79.5
2011-Q1 80.7
2011-Q2 82.6
2011-Q3 82.5
2011-Q4 82.6
2012-Q1 81.3
2012-Q2 81.4
2012-Q3 80.5
2012-Q4 80.4
2013-Q1 80.9
2013-Q2 80.4
2013-Q3 80.2
2013-Q4 80.4
2014-Q1 80.7
2014-Q2 80.5
2014-Q3 81.9
2014-Q4 80.8
2015-Q1 80.8
2015-Q2 82.3
2015-Q3 82.0
2015-Q4 82.3
2016-Q1 81.0
2016-Q2 82.3
2016-Q3 83.5
2016-Q4 83.0
2017-Q1 84.0
2017-Q2 83.8
2017-Q3 84.6
2017-Q4 84.6
2018-Q1 85.9
2018-Q2 85.3
2018-Q3 85.4
2018-Q4 85.1
2019-Q1 84.9
2019-Q2 84.6
2019-Q3 83.7
2019-Q4 83.1
2020-Q1 82.8
2020-Q2 60.5
2020-Q3 74.5
2020-Q4 77.7

Production capacity utilisation rate

  • Source: INSEE

Total and foreign demand has resumed over the past three months

In October 2020, the industrialists’ balances of opinion on variation in demand over the last three months, overall and abroad, have sharply picked up, displaying the activity restart after lockdown. On the other hand, the balances of opinion on variation in demand prospects, overall and abroad, have fallen back after a rebound in July. The balance of opinion on upcoming foreign demand has slightly faltered, the one on overall demand has shrunk more significantly.

The balance regarding general export prospects has stayed at the same level as three months ago, well below its average. Nevertheless, industrialists’ opinion on recent change in their competitive position has sharply improved. The balance on their competitive position on the domestic market has returned above its average while the ones on their competitive position on global markets, inside and outside the European Union, have moved closer to their average.

Difficulties in demand have receded a little after a surge in July. Supply difficulties, that had shrunk last quarter, have decreased again.

Opinion on global demand

Opinion on global demand
Past change Expected change
1998-Q1 26.6 14.4
1998-Q2 18.6 12.4
1998-Q3 18.0 11.9
1998-Q4 11.9 0.3
1999-Q1 4.5 -1.3
1999-Q2 -1.7 2.4
1999-Q3 13.2 11.9
1999-Q4 23.8 21.9
2000-Q1 30.3 15.1
2000-Q2 32.7 18.1
2000-Q3 28.6 20.4
2000-Q4 33.2 22.7
2001-Q1 11.9 15.3
2001-Q2 9.1 2.8
2001-Q3 -0.4 1.1
2001-Q4 -12.1 -13.3
2002-Q1 -23.8 -4.6
2002-Q2 -10.4 5.4
2002-Q3 -8.0 -1.8
2002-Q4 -19.2 -6.6
2003-Q1 -6.3 -1.6
2003-Q2 -22.0 -10.8
2003-Q3 -19.8 -7.8
2003-Q4 -9.1 1.4
2004-Q1 0.1 7.5
2004-Q2 10.0 9.1
2004-Q3 12.8 10.1
2004-Q4 8.5 14.4
2005-Q1 16.9 6.3
2005-Q2 -3.6 1.3
2005-Q3 2.0 5.5
2005-Q4 2.5 10.0
2006-Q1 14.8 7.4
2006-Q2 16.4 12.9
2006-Q3 13.1 9.4
2006-Q4 15.9 13.7
2007-Q1 13.2 10.6
2007-Q2 17.4 10.3
2007-Q3 23.1 14.6
2007-Q4 17.7 16.0
2008-Q1 16.5 13.8
2008-Q2 14.7 9.0
2008-Q3 -8.3 -13.1
2008-Q4 -21.7 -24.3
2009-Q1 -42.2 -36.4
2009-Q2 -53.1 -27.7
2009-Q3 -23.4 -11.8
2009-Q4 -12.0 -1.8
2010-Q1 9.4 -0.1
2010-Q2 6.3 2.1
2010-Q3 18.3 1.3
2010-Q4 17.3 10.9
2011-Q1 25.0 10.1
2011-Q2 20.8 8.6
2011-Q3 14.5 6.3
2011-Q4 0.7 -4.1
2012-Q1 -4.4 -7.4
2012-Q2 -2.7 3.4
2012-Q3 -16.0 -9.5
2012-Q4 -16.8 -7.5
2013-Q1 -15.5 -8.2
2013-Q2 -24.2 -4.3
2013-Q3 -10.5 -5.1
2013-Q4 -2.1 1.6
2014-Q1 2.7 2.7
2014-Q2 6.2 6.4
2014-Q3 -5.7 3.6
2014-Q4 -2.1 3.4
2015-Q1 -3.8 0.7
2015-Q2 4.1 6.5
2015-Q3 1.2 5.1
2015-Q4 5.4 6.8
2016-Q1 2.0 3.9
2016-Q2 12.9 7.7
2016-Q3 11.7 4.8
2016-Q4 4.5 7.4
2017-Q1 11.5 7.3
2017-Q2 10.4 8.9
2017-Q3 16.2 11.1
2017-Q4 18.8 17.1
2018-Q1 21.1 16.2
2018-Q2 17.6 13.8
2018-Q3 9.5 9.0
2018-Q4 -0.8 7.0
2019-Q1 1.7 11.1
2019-Q2 2.7 4.0
2019-Q3 -1.6 2.5
2019-Q4 3.4 -0.1
2020-Q1 -2.6 5.2
2020-Q2 -26.9 -64.6
2020-Q3 -43.6 6.8
2020-Q4 6.2 -2.7

Opinion on global demand

  • Source: INSEE

Industrialists’ opinion: demand and production factors

Balance of opinion, in % SA
Industrialists’ opinion: demand and production factors (Balance of opinion, in % SA)
Manufacturing industry Mean Jan. 20 Apr. 20 Jul. 20 Oct. 20
Overall demand
Past change 0 -3 -27 -44 6
Expected change 1 5 -65 7 -3
Foreign demand
Past change 2 -4 -32 -57 -10
Expected change 3 6 -70 -10 -12
Production factors
Production bottlenecks (in %) 23 37 29 27 26
Assessment of productive capacity 13 9 28 11 14
Production capacity utilisation rate (in %) 83 83 61 74 78
Difficulties of supply and demand (in %)
Difficulties of supply and demand 9 12 27 11 14
Difficulties of supply only 20 26 34 22 17
Difficulties of demand only 42 23 23 39 34
  • * : Long-term average since 1976, expect for supply and demand (since 1991).
  • The results of the latest survey are preliminary
  • Sources : INSEE – Quarterly business survey in industry

Employment prospects have somewhat recovered

Employment prospects over the next three months are considered more favourable in October than in July. The corresponding balance has risen again, a little, and has reached its long term average. The balance on change in workforce size over the last three months has bounced back in October from its low point reached in July. The share of firms that have declared to face difficulties in hiring has increased slightly.

Finally, slightly fewer industrialists than in July have declared facing cash-flow difficulties.

Opinion on workforce size in the manufacturing industry

Opinion on workforce size in the manufacturing industry
Expected change Past change
1998-01 -6.5 -1.5
1998-02 NaN NaN
1998-03 NaN NaN
1998-04 -6.1 1.9
1998-05 NaN NaN
1998-06 NaN NaN
1998-07 -5.3 1.0
1998-08 NaN NaN
1998-09 NaN NaN
1998-10 -6.6 -1.7
1998-11 NaN NaN
1998-12 NaN NaN
1999-01 -7.2 -4.4
1999-02 NaN NaN
1999-03 NaN NaN
1999-04 -8.7 -7.5
1999-05 NaN NaN
1999-06 NaN NaN
1999-07 -5.6 -6.7
1999-08 NaN NaN
1999-09 NaN NaN
1999-10 1.6 7.1
1999-11 NaN NaN
1999-12 NaN NaN
2000-01 7.1 5.9
2000-02 NaN NaN
2000-03 NaN NaN
2000-04 6.1 6.4
2000-05 NaN NaN
2000-06 NaN NaN
2000-07 10.8 13.8
2000-08 NaN NaN
2000-09 NaN NaN
2000-10 13.0 15.6
2000-11 NaN NaN
2000-12 NaN NaN
2001-01 9.9 17.6
2001-02 NaN NaN
2001-03 NaN NaN
2001-04 6.2 9.6
2001-05 NaN NaN
2001-06 NaN NaN
2001-07 0.5 6.8
2001-08 NaN NaN
2001-09 NaN NaN
2001-10 -10.4 0.0
2001-11 NaN NaN
2001-12 NaN NaN
2002-01 -11.9 -8.6
2002-02 NaN NaN
2002-03 NaN NaN
2002-04 -8.1 -9.0
2002-05 NaN NaN
2002-06 NaN NaN
2002-07 -7.1 -9.6
2002-08 NaN NaN
2002-09 NaN NaN
2002-10 -13.4 -12.7
2002-11 NaN NaN
2002-12 NaN NaN
2003-01 -10.0 -15.3
2003-02 -17.9 -16.4
2003-03 -17.7 -14.3
2003-04 -18.1 -13.5
2003-05 -17.8 -17.7
2003-06 -23.2 -15.8
2003-07 -21.5 -18.1
2003-08 -21.5 -17.0
2003-09 -21.7 -16.2
2003-10 -20.1 -19.1
2003-11 -21.0 -18.9
2003-12 -21.4 -18.5
2004-01 -16.7 -17.1
2004-02 -18.1 -15.6
2004-03 -14.3 -15.4
2004-04 -12.7 -13.9
2004-05 -11.1 -13.9
2004-06 -12.8 -13.6
2004-07 -12.6 -12.5
2004-08 -12.0 -11.7
2004-09 -11.8 -10.9
2004-10 -11.7 -10.1
2004-11 -15.7 -9.0
2004-12 -16.1 -12.3
2005-01 -15.3 -10.7
2005-02 -15.8 -12.2
2005-03 -13.0 -12.7
2005-04 -16.9 -15.4
2005-05 -16.8 -13.2
2005-06 -15.0 -12.3
2005-07 -12.4 -12.7
2005-08 -12.2 -12.4
2005-09 -12.7 -12.1
2005-10 -14.2 -10.2
2005-11 -11.4 -9.6
2005-12 -12.1 -9.5
2006-01 -12.4 -9.5
2006-02 -9.5 -9.5
2006-03 -8.7 -7.5
2006-04 -8.1 -7.6
2006-05 -7.7 -5.8
2006-06 -7.5 -3.4
2006-07 -5.8 -2.9
2006-08 -5.6 -3.0
2006-09 -6.7 -3.1
2006-10 -6.0 -0.7
2006-11 -5.6 -4.4
2006-12 -4.5 -4.4
2007-01 -3.0 -4.9
2007-02 -3.3 -1.1
2007-03 -3.8 -0.5
2007-04 -2.1 1.9
2007-05 -1.7 2.4
2007-06 -1.7 2.2
2007-07 -3.4 0.6
2007-08 -0.9 1.0
2007-09 -0.5 1.2
2007-10 2.0 2.9
2007-11 2.4 3.6
2007-12 2.3 4.4
2008-01 1.8 5.3
2008-02 1.1 2.9
2008-03 -0.1 5.4
2008-04 0.0 3.5
2008-05 -4.8 -0.4
2008-06 -6.4 -2.2
2008-07 -9.0 -3.4
2008-08 -12.6 -5.3
2008-09 -15.2 -7.1
2008-10 -18.2 -8.1
2008-11 -29.2 -19.0
2008-12 -37.2 -23.7
2009-01 -35.1 -25.4
2009-02 -38.3 -31.2
2009-03 -40.8 -33.5
2009-04 -37.7 -34.5
2009-05 -35.5 -38.2
2009-06 -35.5 -38.5
2009-07 -30.1 -38.2
2009-08 -28.4 -31.9
2009-09 -27.7 -33.6
2009-10 -25.4 -31.0
2009-11 -22.5 -26.5
2009-12 -21.7 -25.1
2010-01 -18.7 -23.8
2010-02 -18.0 -21.1
2010-03 -17.4 -19.7
2010-04 -15.9 -18.6
2010-05 -12.2 -12.8
2010-06 -10.2 -10.0
2010-07 -9.2 -9.5
2010-08 -9.2 -7.5
2010-09 -2.9 -6.5
2010-10 -3.1 -3.6
2010-11 -1.4 0.3
2010-12 0.8 0.0
2011-01 1.4 -0.6
2011-02 3.4 1.9
2011-03 5.0 6.6
2011-04 2.0 6.8
2011-05 4.3 8.4
2011-06 7.3 11.6
2011-07 4.0 9.2
2011-08 -2.1 5.7
2011-09 -3.8 -0.2
2011-10 -7.2 2.0
2011-11 -8.1 0.0
2011-12 -12.7 -0.6
2012-01 -7.6 -2.3
2012-02 -9.9 -5.5
2012-03 -7.2 -2.7
2012-04 -7.6 -3.4
2012-05 -10.9 -4.5
2012-06 -12.6 -6.5
2012-07 -12.1 -6.5
2012-08 -15.4 -9.7
2012-09 -20.3 -14.2
2012-10 -16.9 -10.5
2012-11 -20.0 -16.6
2012-12 -18.9 -16.2
2013-01 -13.6 -11.8
2013-02 -18.2 -15.3
2013-03 -20.7 -16.5
2013-04 -15.2 -12.2
2013-05 -19.2 -15.7
2013-06 -20.9 -17.5
2013-07 -16.1 -13.5
2013-08 -16.5 -15.1
2013-09 -15.6 -12.6
2013-10 -12.0 -12.2
2013-11 -13.8 -12.7
2013-12 -11.4 -9.6
2014-01 -12.1 -10.1
2014-02 -13.1 -11.2
2014-03 -12.1 -10.7
2014-04 -11.7 -9.4
2014-05 -11.4 -8.1
2014-06 -12.2 -9.4
2014-07 -10.3 -5.7
2014-08 -12.7 -9.5
2014-09 -13.6 -9.4
2014-10 -12.6 -10.1
2014-11 -13.5 -10.9
2014-12 -12.8 -13.0
2015-01 -12.9 -11.5
2015-02 -11.4 -11.9
2015-03 -10.5 -9.8
2015-04 -9.8 -8.2
2015-05 -10.5 -8.1
2015-06 -8.9 -9.0
2015-07 -9.6 -8.1
2015-08 -8.9 -7.0
2015-09 -6.7 -7.8
2015-10 -8.6 -7.7
2015-11 -4.6 -6.1
2015-12 -6.9 -8.7
2016-01 -6.1 -7.2
2016-02 -7.6 -7.4
2016-03 -6.2 -5.8
2016-04 -7.6 -6.3
2016-05 -6.2 -4.4
2016-06 -6.3 -5.2
2016-07 -7.1 -6.5
2016-08 -8.8 -4.5
2016-09 -4.9 -7.2
2016-10 -3.4 -5.5
2016-11 -3.3 -3.4
2016-12 -3.1 -0.5
2017-01 -5.6 -4.0
2017-02 -3.5 -1.3
2017-03 -2.0 0.5
2017-04 -4.1 -3.0
2017-05 -2.4 -1.2
2017-06 -3.3 -1.3
2017-07 -1.5 0.2
2017-08 -0.8 -0.7
2017-09 0.0 -1.5
2017-10 0.8 2.4
2017-11 3.5 2.1
2017-12 1.6 5.7
2018-01 2.9 4.4
2018-02 4.6 4.0
2018-03 4.8 3.3
2018-04 3.8 3.6
2018-05 3.2 3.6
2018-06 3.8 3.1
2018-07 1.0 2.8
2018-08 1.8 0.5
2018-09 1.9 2.2
2018-10 0.5 0.3
2018-11 -0.4 -1.6
2018-12 4.2 1.3
2019-01 0.1 -0.1
2019-02 0.1 0.7
2019-03 0.4 2.4
2019-04 1.9 6.2
2019-05 0.3 2.2
2019-06 -1.2 1.1
2019-07 -1.8 1.2
2019-08 -0.7 0.5
2019-09 2.5 3.1
2019-10 -2.2 -1.1
2019-11 -1.3 -1.4
2019-12 -0.2 -2.3
2020-01 -2.4 -2.8
2020-02 -2.2 -1.9
2020-03 -4.6 -3.1
2020-04 -32.2 -10.2
2020-05 -25.9 -23.9
2020-06 -20.4 -29.3
2020-07 -15.1 -25.6
2020-08 -15.3 -22.7
2020-09 -12.8 -16.7
2020-10 -12.3 -14.1

Opinion on workforce size in the manufacturing industry

  • Source: INSEE.

Industrialists’ opinion: employment, competitive position, cash-flow and selling prices

Balance of opinion, in % SA
Industrialists’ opinion: employment, competitive position, cash-flow and selling prices (Balance of opinion, in % SA)
Manufacturing industry Mean Jan. 20 Apr. 20 Jul. 20 Oct. 20
Workforce size
Past change -11 -3 -10 -26 -14
Expected change -12 -2 -32 -15 -12
Hiring difficulties (in %) 30 48 39 27 31
Selling prices and cash-flow
Past change in selling prices (in %) 0,1 0 -0,8 -0,6 0
Expected change in selling prices (in %) 0,2 -0,1 -0,9 0,3 0
Cash-flow problems (in %) 14 11 18 18 16
Competitive position
On the domestic market 1 -1 -7 -13 3
On foreign markets inside EU -2 -4 -17 -24 -4
On foreign markets outside EU -2 -1 -19 -27 -5
General exportation expectations -9 -7 -79 -20 -20
  • * : Long-term average since 1991, except for workforce change (since 1976) and for competitive position by market (since 1997).
  • The results of the latest survey are preliminary
  • A quantitative question is asked about selling prices.
  • Source : INSEE – Quarterly business survey in industry

For further information

The quarterly questions complete the monthly survey published in the version dated 23 July 2020, especially as regards demand and production factors.

A balance of opinion is calculated as the difference between the percentage of “increase” responses and the percentage of “decrease” responses.

Since the definitive data of April 2020, the way of correcting non-response has been modified. The usual method was to fill in missing answers by carrying on past answers from non-responding companies. Results are now computed on the sole basis of responding companies.

Answers to this survey have been collected from September 28 to October 19.

Additional information (simplified and detailed methodology, nomenclature, etc.) is available on the “Documentation” tab on this page.

Next issue: 21 January 2020 at 8:45 am

The quarterly questions complete the monthly survey published in the version dated 23 July 2020, especially as regards demand and production factors.

A balance of opinion is calculated as the difference between the percentage of “increase” responses and the percentage of “decrease” responses.

Since the definitive data of April 2020, the way of correcting non-response has been modified. The usual method was to fill in missing answers by carrying on past answers from non-responding companies. Results are now computed on the sole basis of responding companies.

Answers to this survey have been collected from September 28 to October 19.

Additional information (simplified and detailed methodology, nomenclature, etc.) is available on the “Documentation” tab on this page.

Next issue: 21 January 2020 at 8:45 am


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