Orders have risen 25 percent compared to the first nine months of the previous year, while sales have increased by 16.2 percent. In the last two years companies in the MEM industries have created over 21,000 new jobs.
New orders received by Swissmem's 290 reporting members grew by 33% in the third quarter of 2007 compared with the year-back quarter. International and domestic orders both rose impressively (31.7% and 38.1% respectively).
In a nine-month comparison, new orders are 25% up on the previous year. At 30.6%, growth in domestic orders was greater than growth in foreign orders (23.5%) due to the lower year-back level. Sales in the MEM industries for the period from January to September lifted by 16.2% year-on-year. Foreign and domestic sales both rose by roughly the same amount (16.4% and 15.4% respectively)
At the end of June 2007, the MEM industries employed 325,010 people, an increase of 4.5% over the previous year. A total of 21,115 new full-time jobs have been created since July 2005. Capacity utilization in September 2007 was a high 92.7%.
Strong demand from eastern Europe
The MEM industries' global exports totalled CHF 57.5 billion in the first nine months of 2007, an increase of 13.2% year-on-year. Among the ten most important trading partners, the countries showing particularly high growth rates were China (up 20.8%), Austria (up 20.3%), Italy (up 17.9%) and Germany (up 16.1%). Growth was considerably better than average in eastern Europe, with exports to countries such as Hungary (up 46.3%), Russia (up 41.5%) and Poland (up 31.4%) rising markedly in a continuation of the trend in the preceding quarters.
Exports to Asia and the United States rose by a more moderate 8.9% and 1.1% respectively in the first nine months of the year. However, the United States still represents the MEM industries' third biggest sales region, accounting for 9% of exports.
Continued dynamic growth expected
The reporting members expect the current positive trend to continue over the months ahead. This optimism is based on a healthy flow of new orders since the beginning of the year coupled with the essentially favourable business climate in the euro zone. In particular, the member companies expect further growth stimuli from dynamic markets such as China, Russia and eastern Europe.
Despite the continuing good prospects for the world economy overall, there are a few growth-restricting factors that could impact on the Swiss MEM industries. The companies' high level of capacity utilization and lack of specialist manpower are also a dampener on pronounced increases in growth.