The positive in 2021 must be seen in context with the fact that several manufacturing industries experienced difficulties in 2020 due to the Corona pandemic.

- Manufacturing production had a strong annual growth last year, but the figures also show that production has declined steadily after a peak in March, says senior advisor in Statistics Norway, Anel Finci.

The industry grouping refined petroleum, chemicals and pharmaceuticals saw a solid output increase of 8.1 per cent in 2021, og contributed strongly to the overall manufacturing growth. In addition, furniture and manufacturing n.e.c also had high production due to increased market demand for furniture.

- Producers within chemicals and pharmaceuticals had considerably better market conditions in 2021. Easier access to raw materials contributed also positively, says Finci.

Food products experienced also marked output growth in 2021 due to high production within processing and preserving of fish.

-The increase in 2021 is not only due to Corona-related issues. Last year was a record year for Norwegian fish export with extraordinary high slaughter volumes of salmon and mackerel. The mackerel quota increased strongly in 2021 due to lack of international agreements, says Finci.

Figure 1. Production development in manufacturing. Seasonally adjusted and smoothed seasonally adjusted figures¹. 2005=100

¹ March 2020 and the subsequent months are specified as outliers in the seasonal adjustment routine. Hence, the trend figures for 2020 are not included in the figure.

Three-month change: mackerel contributed to fall in manufacturing output

According to , manufacturing output saw a decrease of 1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the previous quarter. The decrease is particularly related to a fall in food products of 6.1 per cent due to lower production within processing and preserving of fish. The decline must be seen in context with an early start of the mackerel season, and hence unusually high slaughter volumes of mackerel in August and September.

In addition, the industry grouping refined petroleum, chemicals and pharmaceuticals also saw a clear output fall in the fourth quarter. The decline was due to downtime and maintenance shutdowns, amongst other things.

Figure 2. Indicator for petroleum-related industries. Seasonally adjusted. Three-month moving average¹. 2005=100

¹ The index value for period m is the average of period m, m-1 and m-2.

Monthly change: broad decrease in manufacturing output in December

According to seasonally-adjusted figures, manufacturing output saw a clear decrease of 1.6 per cent from November to December 2021. Several industries contributed to the overall manufacturing fall, amongst them:

  • Wood and wood products: -4.5 %
  • Refined petroleum, chemicals and pharmaceuticals: -1.9 %
  • Machinery and equipment: -3.1 %
  • Furniture and manufacturing n.e.c: -6.6 %

On the other hand, computer and electrical equipment together with non-ferrous metals saw a production increase in the same period and contributed to dampen the overall manufacturing fall.

Monthly change: clear output growth in the Euro area in November

Estimated figures from Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, indicate that manufacturing output in the had a clear output growth of 2.4 per cent from October to November 2021. In the same period, Norwegian manufacturing production was unchanged.

Sweden saw a marginal decrease of 0.1 per cent in the same period, while Denmark had a clear output growth of 3 per cent.

Figure 3. Index of production for manufacturing. Euro area and Norway (2015=100). Seasonally adjusted

Three-month change: production fall in the petroleum industry

According to seasonally-adjusted figures, the total production index (PII) covering extraction, mining, manufacturing and electricity supply had a clear output decrease of 3.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared with the previous quarter. The decline is particularly due to a production fall of 8.5 per cent within extraction of crude petroleum. In addition, extraction of natural gas also saw a decrease of 3.9 per cent. The decline in the petroleum industry was due to technical problems in the fourth quarter. For more details about oil and gas extraction in this quarter, see the press release from The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

Within support activities for petroleum and natural gas extraction, there was a clear output increase of 3.3 per cent from the third to the fourth quarter. In the same period, mining and quarrying also saw a marked growth of 5 per cent, while production within Norwegian electricity supply went up by 5.1 per cent.

Figure 4. Production development. Seasonally adjusted. Three-month moving average¹. 2005=100

¹ The index value for period m is the average of period m, m-1 and m-2.

Thursday 12th of March 2020 the Norwegian government introduced actions against the spreading of the Corona-virus in Norway. Several manufacturing establishments have been affected by these measures, and this has led to a change in the activity pattern compared to what we usually observe. Hence, the seasonal adjustment routine during the Corona- crisis is done in such a way that the figures during the crisis (from March), are not included in the basis for the calculation of the seasonal pattern. Technically, in the seasonal adjustment routine this is done by specifying March and following months as outliers.

This implies that normal trend figures will not be calculated, and instead the trend will follow the seasonal adjusted figures. One important exception is the last observation, where the trend will be an extrapolated figure where the last observation is not included. The trend figures from, and including, March 2020 will therefore be difficult to interpret.

The seasonal adjustment routine of Statics Norway is in line with the recommendations of Eurostat.