Manufacturers' opinions of the competitive position of the Dutch manufacturing industry plummeted in the first quarter of this year. In fact they are now at their lowest point since 1994. The deterioration is reported for the positions on both the domestic market and the markets within and outside the European Union (EU). In the last four years manufacturers had reported an improvement in the competitive position.
Opinions on competitive position of manufacturing companies (balance of positive and negative responses)
A company's position in relation to its competitors is determined to an important extent by the price of its products compared with those of its competitors at home and abroad. The wage movement per product unit is an important component of this price.
In the manufacturing industry these wages per unit of value added were 2.2% higher in the last quarter of last year than in the last quarter of 1999. Although this is the highest percentage for 2000, it is lower than the increase at the beginning of 1999.
Employee wages per product unit and opinion on competitive position
A decrease in wage costs per unit of product often goes hand in hand with an improvement in companies' opinions on their competitive position, and vice versa. However, at the moment there is no long-term strong increase in the wage per unit of product, and the opinions on competitive position have only just started to become more negative. In fact, at the end of 1999 and the beginning of 2000 the wage costs per product unit decreased.