September quarter results of a long-running industrial survey have pointed to manufacturers facing the worst labour shortages in 21 years among other difficulties, but optimistic the economy will rebound as vaccination levels increase.
The Australian Chamber-Westpac Survey of Industrial Trends was consistent with the latest PMI result — showing manufacturers recording slight growth — but facing significant supply and labour constraints.
“Despite lockdowns in NSW, Victoria, and the ACT causing Australia’s manufacturing output to stall, expectations for future growth remain positive,” said ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar.
As it did last quarter, the survey results compared supply shortages at levels their worst since the 1970s oil shock. Labour constraints were at their worst in 21 years, with difficulty locating experienced staff due to interstate and international border closures.
Positively, the industry saw high vaccination rates as a “ticket out of the current lockdowns, a positive sign for growth in manufacturing and the economic recovery,” said McKellar, and therefore “it is essential that momentum is maintained to reach the 80 per cent vaccination target as soon as possible.”
The “Actual Composite” index lowered from 63.1 last quarter to 51.2, slightly above the 50 break-even mark.
The report also highlighted the resilience of the industry versus the lockdown last year. Though growth has stalled, the Actual Composite index reached 24.0 in June 2020, the lowest-ever result since the survey began in 1966.
Featured picture: Kuka
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