European slowdown sidesteps Denmark, new figures say

New manufacturing figures from Statistics Denmark, an important early indicator for the Danish economy, suggest that the country is avoiding a wider European slowdown.

European slowdown sidesteps Denmark, new figures say
File photo: Søren Bidstrup / Ritzau Scanpix

Manufacturing grew by 0.5 per cent between March and April, according to the latest figures from Statistics Denmark.

That is good news for the Danish economy, with manufacturing an important early indicator for the direction in which the Danish economy is headed, says the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI), a privately-funded interest organisation funded, owned and managed by 10,000 companies within the manufacturing, trade and service industries.

“The slowdown in the European economy is not hindering the influx of orders to Danish manufacturing companies,” said DI’s chief economist Morten Granzau.

“Manufacturers in Denmark largely produce goods that are less impacted by ups and downs in the international economy, such as wind turbines, pharmaceuticals and foods. These companies are therefore less vulnerable when growth in the European economy slows down,” Granzau said.

The figures for industrial production and turnover are the first ‘hard’ indicator that Statistics Denmark puts forward regarding the development of the Danish economy. Danish manufacturing companies are responsible for almost 16 per cent of employment and about 18 per cent of value creation in the public and private sector, writes

Growth in industrial production also means that manufacturers have hired more employees.

“For the fifth year running, job creation in manufacturing continued to increase last year. Over the past five years, manufacturing companies have employed 17,000 new employees. New robots have made production smarter and more efficient, which creates new jobs,” Granzau said.

A fifth of manufacturing companies expect to increase production in coming months, and that increases the demand for new colleagues in the field.

“Expectations of continued industrial growth will cause manufacturing companies to hire more employees if they have access to available workforce. DI has recently completed a survey among almost 2,000 manufacturing companies showing that every eighth Danish manufacturer has turned down orders or moved production abroad as a result of labour shortage,” Granzau commented.

READ ALSO: Number of people receiving Danish unemployment benefit hits ten-year low

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‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.