Factory production declined in March as supposedly nonessential manufacturing ground to a halt at the start of a lockdown meant to stop transmission of SARS Cov2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19.

Initial results of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) monthly integrated survey of selected industries (Missi) for March showed that the volume of production index (VoPI), a measurement of factory output, dropped by 6.3 percent, reversing a 4 percent growth in February.

The PSA said 15 “major industry groups pulled down the VoPI.

Production in these industry groups fell by at least 25 percent—petroleum (down 34.2 percent), tobacco (down 33.9 percent) and miscellaneous products (down 29 percent).

The 12 industries which saw drops in production were electrical machinery, machinery except electrical, non-metallic mineral products, beverages, paper and paper products, food manufacturing, footwear and wearing apparel, basic metals, textiles, rubber and plastic products, leather products, and fabricated metal products.

Five sectors, however, posted growth in production volume last March: chemical products, transport equipment, printing, furniture and fixtures, as well as wood and wood products.

The value of production index (VaPI), meanwhile, slid by a faster 11.3 percent in March, the 16th straight month of year-on-year contraction.

The fall in VaPI was largely because of a drop in production in 17 major industry groups which had at least 30 percent annual declines in output.

Among these were petroleum products (down 40.5 percent), tobacco products (down 30.9 percent) and miscellaneous manufactures (down 30.2 percent).

The other 14 sectors which saw declines in production included electrical machinery, machinery except electrical, non-metallic mineral products, footwear and wearing apparel, basic metals, paper and paper products, beverages, food manufacturing, textiles, transport equipment, rubber and plastic products, fabricated metal products, leather products, and wood and wood products.

Only three industries recorded gains in production value that month: chemical products, furniture and fixtures, as well as printing.

Domestic manufacturing of nonessential items had stopped since mid-March as COVID-19 lockdowns kept millions of workers away from factories, resulting in temporary unemployment on a massive scale.

Edited by TSB


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