After five years of continuous growth, the German wood industry had to cope with a slight decline in sales in the first half of 2019 for the first time.
"From January to June, the sales value was around € 18 billion, down 1.5% on the previous year. Against the background of the perceptible slowdown in economic growth in Germany and the increasing deterioration in the external economic conditions, we are also assuming a negative result for the full 2019 year, "said Jan Kurth, managing director of the Federation of the German Timber Industry (HDH).
The furniture industry, the largest segment of the wood industry with sales of € 8.9 billion, posted a decline of 1.8% in the first half of the year.
The construction-related sector, as the second-largest segment - which includes wood prefabricated construction as well as the manufacture of windows, doors, stairs and other wood-based construction elements - increased its sales by 6.6% to € 2.9 billion.
The other segments of the wood industry were able to partially maintain their sales levels (sawmills: + 0.4%), but in some cases recorded significant declines in sales (wood-based materials: -6.9%).
In the first half of 2019, the entire German timber industry employed a total of 156,897 men and women in 932 companies with 50 and more employees. Compared to the same period of the previous year, the number of companies fell by 0.3%, while at the same time the number of employees increased noticeably by 1.5%. Thus, the German wood industry generated around 2,300 new jobs within a year.