The index level for Norwegian manufacturing in the period March-May 2021 amounted to 119.5 (2005=100), which is unchanged compared to the previous three-month period. Figures for the last two months indicate that the production activity has stabilized more or less on the same level as seen prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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.

Monthly change: decline in food products, increase in fabricated metal products

According to , manufacturing output had a marginal decline of 0.1 per cent from April to May 2021. Food products contributed the most to pull down the overall manufacturing output, with a decline of 2.8 per cent. This decline is related to low production within processing and preserving of fish due to high slaughter volumes in previous months. Other industries such as wood and wood products and non-ferrous metals also registered significant output declines in May.

On the other hand, fabricated metal products saw a solid increase of 5.5 per cent. Machinery and equipment along with the industry group furniture and manufacturing n.e.c also saw growth in manufacturing output in May.

Three-month change: fall in petroleum-related manufacturing

According to seasonally-adjusted figures, manufacturing output was unchanged in the period March to May 2021 compared to the previous three-month period. fell by 2.2 per cent compared to the last three-month period (see figure 2). Growth in manufacturing branches not related to the oil and gas industry levelled out this decline, so that the overall situation for the manufacturing sector as a whole was unchanged.

The industry group refined petroleum, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, together with rubber, plastic and mineral products had the largest growth rates in this three-month period, with an increase of 5.4 and 4.9 per cent respectively.

On the other hand, building of ships, boats and oil platforms fell substantially by more than 10 per cent compared with the previous three-month period. The fall in production was partially related to difficulties with access to labour from abroad due to restrictions on international travel and quarantine requirements. Computer and electrical equipment also saw a decline in manufacturing output in this period.

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: output in the Euro area increased slightly in April 2021

Estimated figures from Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, indicate that manufacturing output in the increased with 0.4 per cent from March to April 2021.

In the same period, Norwegian manufacturing production had a decline of 1.9 per cent. Sweden had an output decrease of 1.3 cent, while Denmark saw a large fall of 3.6 per cent.

For more information on the development in European manufacturing sector, see this article from Eurostat.

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

Three-month change: marginal growth in the total production index

According to seasonally-adjusted figures, the total production index (PII) covering extraction, mining, manufacturing and electricity supply had a marginal output increase of 0.2 per cent in the period March to May 2021 compared with the previous three-month period. Extraction of crude petroleum saw an increase of 1.4 per cent, while extraction of natural gas fell with 1.4 per cent. For more details about oil and gas extraction in this period, see the press release from The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

Within support activities for petroleum and natural gas extraction, there was an output decrease of 1.3 per cent in the period March to May 2021 compared with the previous three-month period. In the same period mining and quarrying saw a drop of as much as 8.6 per cent, while production within Norwegian electricity supply decreased by 1.3 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 establishment 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.