Ecomotive - Archive

Automotive: a giant leap forward


The automobile market’s recovery drives the sector. Employment drops in the transport sector

Paolo Castiglia

Lights and shadows for the economic performance of both the national automotive and transport sectors, but this time it’s more lights than shadows, as the automotive sectors drives the growth of all satellite activities, from spare parts and components to accessories. On the other hand, though, a significant fall in the employment figures of the transport sector must be recorded, faced with an increasingly worrying relocation trend.  

Starting with the automotive sector as a whole, a giant leap forward was recorded, with a growth rate of 31.3% for the month of April and averaging 25.8% for the first four months of the current year, as confirmed by the latest Istat data processed by Anfia. Particularly significant was the growth of the domestic production of motor vehicles scoring an encouraging 59.9% in April and a 42.2% for the first four months.

All this while the production of motor vehicle bodies, trailers and semi-trailers was down 1.7 per cent, though recording a 2.3 percent increase in aggregate, and production of spare parts and accessories for motor vehicles - excluding tires - grew by 9.7 percent in April and 12.1 percent over the first four months of 2015.

Consequently, the growing production of motor vehicles is driving the rising production levels of components, with a +9.7% in April and a +12.1 % for the first four months, thanks to a higher domestic demand, up 10.1% in April and 7.1% during the first four months of 2015.

The renewed impetus coming from the rising demand in European countries and in other target markets for the Italian industry, such as NAFTA countries, will probably sustain the growing production over the next few months as well, making it possible to reach the production target of 650.000 units. It is therefore paramount that, following the industry’s investments, industrial policies are reinforced in order to guarantee adequate production and employment levels in what is considered to be a strategic sector for the entire national economy. 

The other side of the coin shows a sharp drop, in three years, in the number of employees in the transport sector, according to a survey made by Confartigianato, which shows that between 2010 and 2014 the number of professionals in the transport and removal sectors has dropped by 6,6%. Numerous companies have decided to relocate abroad, and this means that while the number of transport operators drops in Italy, a double digit growth figure is recorded in EU countries with a lower labor cost (23.6% lower on average compared to Italy), such as Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary and Slovenia.

On the whole, these countries have experienced a 13.2% growth in occupation. In absolute terms, Italy has seen 21,800 jobs vanish between 2011 and 2014, while in the six East European countries mentioned above, 68,500 new jobs were created during the same period. The greatest growth was recorded in Slovakia (+30.1%), followed by Romania (+28.7%) and Bulgaria (+25.7%). Other countries, such as Poland and Hungary, experienced lower though significant increases with a +7.8% and +4.2% respectively, while also Slovenia recorded a drop (-5.3%).

Confartigianato also evaluates the relocation process of transport companies. In 2012, companies abroad under control of Italian firms in the transport and warehousing sector were 674, with 28,070 employees. In the last two years, employment in these companies increased by 10.7%, against a three percent decline in Italy. During the last two years, a 4.1% drop in the road transport sector’s employment figures was recorded.

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