BRIEF ON MANUFACTURING 2015
There has been somewhat positive news regarding local manufacturing for 2015. In the most recent data, the manufacturing sector will experience a modest recovery of 1.3 percent and is expected to contribute TT$7,633.2 million to the economy for calendar 2015. This figure represents an expansion of real output for the first time in three years. The output from the sector will also account for 8.1 percent of real gross domestic product (GDP), which is a marginal increase of 0.1 percent when compared to the sector’s contribution for the corresponding period one year prior. This projected increase in manufacturing output is primarily driven by two sub-sectors which are expected to register increased growth: the Food, Beverage and Tobacco sub-sector which is the largest manufacturing sub-sector; and the Printing and Publishing sub-sector. Following a decline of 4.2 percent in calendar 2014, data suggests a strong upturn of 6.8 percent in the Food, Beverage and Tobacco sub-sector for 2015, representing a jump to the highest output level (TT$4,212.7 million) since 2012. Similarly, the Printing and Publishing sub-sector is anticipated to rebound to 6.0 percent growth in 2015, which contrasts with the sub-sector’s contraction of 2.4 percent in 2014. Notwithstanding these developments, the overall expansion of the manufacturing sector may be limited due to the progressive weakening of activities in the other sub-sectors: Textile, Garments & Footwear; Wood & Related Products; Chemicals & Non-Metallic Minerals; Assembly Type and Related Industries; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing.
Manufacturing firms’ rate of capacity utilization continued to be about two-thirds of total capacity between January and March 2015.
Non-energy exports account for approximately 15 percent of total exports. Between January and September 2015, total exports of locally manufactured goods declined by 30.7 percent to TT$5,016.7 million, from $7,241.5 million in the corresponding period for the previous year. Exports to CARICOM countries accelerated by 30.5 percent to $1,255.5 million; however, this was not enough to offset the steep decline in exports to Non-CARICOM territories. Manufacturing exports to Non-CARICOM countries declined by 40.1 percent to $3,761.2 million in this review period, as economic activity was subdued in major export markets like the United States of America.
Employment growth in the manufacturing sector has remained positive between April 2014 and March 2015; the sector now employs an estimated 53,600 persons in Trinidad and Tobago which is approximately 8.3 percent of the entire labour force.