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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