2006 was possibly the best year for German processors and converters in several years. Overall sales increased to Euro 49.3 billion in 2006 growing at 10.2%. 2007 will see sales beyond Euro 50 billion.
The improvement in sales was seen in all sectors of plastics processing. Building and construction industry that has so far been a laggard, rose sharply by 12.5% in 2006 over 2005. Automotive, electronic and major equipment was the area that grew second best at 10%, packaging grew at 8.9%.
After several years of loss of trained processing jobs, 2006 saw the first improvement by 0.4% in new staff jobs (approximately 1000) to a total of 276,011 working in the sector. Consolidation within the sector has, however, has taken its toll on the number of processing operations in the country (2730), which went down by 1.9%. Productivity increased by 9.2% last year to €178,000/staff member.
For the first time in a number of years, Germany saw strong domestic demand (+9%) for processed products reducing reliance on continuing export demand, which was 12% higher than in 2005. Plastics exports now account for 36% of total output. High polymer and energy prices are some major concerns to the polymer processing industry in Germany .