According to the report from Insee, in March 2021, output increased in the manufacturing industry (+0.4%, after −4.8%), as well as in the whole industry (+0.8%, after −4.8%). Economists had expected a 2.0% increase in the whole industry.
Compared to February 2020 (the last month before the first general lockdown), output remained in sharp decline in the manufacturing industry (−6.8%), as well as in the whole industry (−5.9%).
In March, output bounced back in mining and quarrying, energy, water supply (+2.9% after −5.0%) and in the manufacture of food products and beverages (+1.3% after −2.5%). It continued to expand in the manufacture of coke and refined petroleum after the shutdown of several refineries in late 2020 (+7.0% after +12.2%). Output grew moderately in the manufacture of machinery and equipment goods (+0.4% after −5.4%) and in the manufacture of transport equipment (+0.4% after −11.2%). It was unchanged in “other manufacturing” (stability after −4.1%).
In March 2021, output yet remained in sharp decline compared to its February 2020 level in most industrial activities. It slumped in the manufacture of transport equipment (−25.1%), more sharply in the manufacture of other transport equipment (−29.6%) than in the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers (−18.1%). It also plummeted in the manufacture of coke and refined petroleum (−14.9%). Compared to February 2020, output decreased more moderately in “other manufacturing” (−4.3%) and in the manufacture of machinery and equipment goods (−3.2%), thanks in particular to the sub-branches of pharmaceuticals (+5.4%) and electrical equipment (+4.3%).
Over the first quarter of 2021, manufacturing output was up compared to the same quarter of 2020 (+1.7%), as well as output in the whole industry (+1.7%). However, this relatively moderate evolution masks very large differences between months, given that the beginning of the general lockdown took place in mid-March 2020.
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