The business tendency survey for the 1st quarter of 2022 still shows growth in total output. The growth rate is now higher than in the 4th quarter of 2021. The producers of and are experiencing a clear increase in production while the growth among producers of is somehow more moderate. There are still some of the industrial leaders who report that lack of access to skilled labor, raw materials and other input factors have limited production volume in the 1st quarter (see figure 6). Lack of raw materials and input factors are still linked to logistics challenges in the world market, this is a problem that has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

Industrial leaders report growth in total industrial employment in the 1st quarter compared with the 4th quarter of 2021, and employment growth is solid in all types of goods, but the growth is higher for producers of capital goods.

Figure 1. Production and employment for manufacturing. Changes from previous quarter. Smoothed seasonally adjusted

Sustained strong growth in both product and cost prices

The total stock of orders in manufacturing shows a clear growth in the 1st quarter. Growth in stock of orders are reported by producers of all types of goods. The industrial leaders also report clear growth in new orders for both domestic and export market.

Figure 2. New orders received for manufacturing. Changes from previous quarter. Smoothed seasonally adjusted

Industrial managers are reporting significant growth in the prices, both in domestic and export market for overall manufacturing in the 1st quarter. Price growth is reported for all types of goods in both markets. For producers of intermediate goods, the growth in prices is particularly strong. Producers of intermediate goods are largely export-oriented. The levels of the diffusion indexes for export and domestic prices are the highest measured since this survey began in 1990.

Figure 3. Prices on products for manufacturing. Changes from previous quarter. Smoothed seasonally adjusted

A large proportion of industrial managers report increasing growth in in the 1st quarter. The level of the diffusion index for input prices is the highest measured since the first survey in the fourth quarter of 2011. It is producers of consumer goods who have the highest growth in input prices. Overall, stronger growth in cost prices than in product prices was reported. This substantiates that there are reports of declining in manufacturing, as a whole in the 1st quarter (see box at the bottom of the article).

Positive expectations for the second quarter of 2022

The general outlook for the 2nd quarter of 2022 is clearly positive. The proportion with an optimistic view for the coming quarter is slightly higher than in the previous survey. Although producers of all goods types have positive expectations, it is producers of capital goods who have the most optimistic view related to the coming quarter. The industrial managers further report that the total production volume is expected to grow during the 2nd quarter compared with the 1st quarter of 2022. Employment growth is also expected in the coming quarter. It is reported that new orders from both the domestic and export markets will increase, and further growth in the total stock order is also expected. The strength of the expected growth for the various indicators is not the same for the different good types. Generally, the strongest growth is expected for producers of capital goods, while the expected growth is somehow weaker for producers of and intermediate and consumer goods. Producers of all product types also expect that prices for both intermediate goods and products for sale will increase further in the second quarter.

Figure 4. General judgement of the outlook in next quarter for manufacturing

Industry leaders reported that adopted investment plans are marginally adjusted upwards for manufacturing and the growth rate is the same as in the 4th quarter. In the survey of 3rd quarter of 2021, a new statistics table (see box at the bottom of the article) was introduced. This table shows the development in which factors the managers state as limiting the investments. In recent quarters, a lower proportion of industrial managers state that expected developments in demand limit the investments. At the same time, an increasing proportion of industrial managers state that the constitute a limiting factor in the investments.

The industrial confidence indicator indicates further growth

in the 1st quarter was 8,8 ( ) which is marginally higher than in the previous quarter. The indicator is still well above the historical average of 3.2 and this indicates growth in production volume for the 2nd quarter of 2022.

The level of the industrial confidence indicator for the various types of goods is relatively similar, but the outlook for growth is clearest for the producer of capital goods.

Values above zero indicate that total output will grow in the forthcoming quarter, while values below zero indicate that total output will fall. International comparisons of the industrial confidence indicator are available from Eurostat (EU), The Swedish National Institute of Economic Research and Statistics Denmark.

Figure 5. Industrial confidence indicator¹

¹ Industrial confidence indicator is the arithmetic average of the answers (balances) to the questions on production expectations, total stock of orders and inventories of own products (the latter with inverted sign).

Access to raw materials limits production

Compared with the previous survey, there are a higher proportion of industry leaders who highlight that the lack of qualified labor and supply of raw materials and/or electric power are factors that contributed to limiting production in the 1st quarter of 2022. At the same time, a lower proportion of industry leaders point out that weak demand and strong competition have limited production. indicator continue to rise and it is now at its highest level since the 2nd quarter of 2008.

Figure 6. Bottlenecks in production in current quarter. Smoothed seasonally adjusted
Figure 6. Bottlenecks in production in current quarter. Smoothed seasonally adjusted. Read more about the content in the description and source below the graph.

The figure shows that in recent quarters there has been an increasing proportion of industrial leaders who point out that the lack of qualified labor and access to raw materials and / or electric power are factors that contribute to limiting production. At the same time, in the same period, there has been an ever lower proportion of industrial leaders who point out that weak demand and strong competition have limited production.

Source: Business tendency survey for manufacturing, mining and quarrying

The average for Norwegian manufacturing was calculated to 81.5 per cent at the end of the 1st quarter of 2022. The utilization rate is higher than it was at the end of the 4th quarter of 2021, and it is above the historical average of 80.0 per cent. International comparisons of average capacity utilisation are available from Eurostat (EU).

Figure 7. Capacity utilisation in per cent for manufacturing

Timelines

The survey data was collected in the period from 8 March to 19 April 2022.

As of this publication, new indicators are introduced in the statistics.

The indicator «Cost prices» and «Profitability» for actual and expected changes in the next quarter are published in the table «08264: Business tendency survey. Tendencies»

Cost prices measure the development in the prices that the company pays for the goods and services that are included in the production of the final item (raw material). As well as on the prices of the capital goods (production equipment and facilities used in the production process) that the company purchases or, in those cases where another part is responsible for the entire investment project, the price of the investment delivery.

Profitability measures the development in the profitability of the company's sales of goods or services. Profitability means the change in the difference between current operating expenses and current operating revenues. In this case, it is not considered factors that affect the company's profits that are not directly linked to the company's main activity (eg. sales of electricity).

In addition, a new statistics bank table is published which shows reasons that limit the company's investment activity: «12786: Business tendency survey. Limiting factors for investments».

For "Limiting factors for investments", business leaders are asked to choose the most important reasons that limit new investments (several answers possible). If they have not planned investments, they can use the option «No special».

The reasons that are measured are these:

«Access to credit» if they plan to invest in new real capital, but have problems establishing enough financing.

«Expected development in demand» if they expect lower demand and for that reason it is risky to invest in new capacity.

The alternatives for investment costs are used if it is considered that «Prices for Capital Good» and /or «Financing cost» are so high that it limits the implementation of planned investments.

«Governmental requirement» if they conclude that public requirements related to an investment (for example environmental requirements) are so high that planned investments are limited.

«Access to governmental subsidy» if the planned investments are limited by rejection of an application for public grants or that the grants are too low.

«Available production capacity» if at the end of the quarter they have spare production capacity and for that reason do not wish to carry out planned investments at the present time.

Companies that have other limiting factors than those specified in the form, use the option «Other factors» where the business leaders can specify what these factors are.