Japanese companies’ employee numbers shrinking more in Europe than elsewhere
The quarterly survey by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reveals that employment in Japanese companies in Europe fell more than other regions in October to December 2020, a reflection of the continued declines in capital investment and sales in the region.
Globally, Japanese companies’ sales improved 3.8% on the previous year, the first increase in 8 quarters, but for Europe there was a 1.8% decline, the tenth consecutive quarterly decrease. Sales in North America fell slightly more, by 2%, but the decline has been more recent – over 5 quarters. Sales in Asia rose 9.3% (and comprise over half of Japanese companies’ sales overseas), the first growth in 8 quarters.
Capital investment declined across the board, by 17.6% – the fifth quarterly consecutive decline. The fall in investment in Europe was 19.6%, greater than North America’s 16.2% drop, but lower than the 23% fall in investment in Asia.
The total number of employees fell globally by 4%, the 7th consecutive quarterly decline, and by 7.9% in Europe, the 4th consecutive quarterly decline. The number of employees only fell by 3.8% in Asia (7th consecutive quarterly decline) and 3% in North America (4th consecutive quarterly decline).
Sectorally, the decline in sales in Europe was mainly in electrical machinery (13.9% drop) and transportation equipment (which includes automotive) with a 2.9% fall. Capital investment in the European transportation equipment sector fell by nearly 40% and there was a 15.4% decline in capital investment in the European electrical machinery sector too. European employee numbers fell 26.5% in electrical machinery and 3.8% in transportation equipment. There were increases in sales, investment and employment for Japanese companies in Europe in the chemical and general purpose machinery sectors, however.
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