The Indec statistics agency released yesterday its reports concerning the state of the construction and industrial sectors in 2017 in Argentina. The figures show that both – especially construction – have increased their output when compared to the previous year. However, the recession the country endured last year had a relevant role in the green numbers from yesterday’s reports. So let’s take a look at them separately.

In December of last year, the industrial sector in Argentina grew by 0.3 percent when compared to the same month of the previous year. However, the figures from December 2016 show that the sector had reduced its output by 2.3 percent, compared to its 2015 counterpart, meaning that the bar to get a positive figure was not that high.

Nonetheless, the report shows that the industry has grown for eight consecutive months and is steadily climbing out of the pit that the figures from 2016 and the first four months of 2017 dragged the sector into.

This is more clearly illustrated when observing the accumulated data: in 2016, the industrial sector reduced its output by 4.6 percent. In 2017, it increased by 1.8 percent.

The report also included a survey to representatives of the country’s main industries, in which they were asked about their expectations regarding different aspects of their activity for the first quarter of the year.

Concerning domestic demand, roughly half of the companies believe its level will be similar to last year’s; 35.5 percent expect it to increase and 12.7 to decrease. Along these lines, 58.3 percent of them were adamant about their chances to produce more than in the first quarter of 2017, while 24 out of every hundred anticipated an increase, and 12.6 a reduction.

Moreover, two out of every three businesses are not planning on hiring people during the first three months of the year, although almost 20 percent are. The remaining 12.6 percent, in contrast, are likely to lay off staff during this period.

The construction sector’s output increased strongly when compared to 2016. But same as its industrial counterpart, it had experienced a drastic reduction in the previous year. In December, the sector grew by 14.5 percent compared to the same month of 2016, thus becoming the tenth straight month with double digit growth.

Overall, its output grew by 12.7 percent in 2017. Considering the reduction had been equivalent in the previous year, we are now at the same level as in the end of 2015, when President Mauricio Macri took office.

In the survey, 40 percent of the main companies’ representatives said they expect the sector’s output to grow during the first quarter of the year. 52 percent said it will not change and the remaining eight that it will decrease. Those who predict a positive scenario founded their claims in their expectation of growth for the country’s economy, new public works and the continued surge in mortgage loans.

When asked about potential variations in their staff, 80 percent said they are not planning on changing things. Of the remaining 20, 12 percent will hire more people whereas the remaining eight will lay off employees. However, of those who dedicate themselves exclusively to the public works sector, 34.5 percent believe they will expand their staff, 12.1 percent will reduce it and the remaining 53.4 percent do not foresee any variations.