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Lobby group warns of 20,000 job losses as orders collapse

One-third of technology industry firms indicated that they had already cut jobs or were planning to do so.

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Finland's technology industry accounts for roughly half of all exports of goods and services. Image: Mikko Koski / Yle

A sharp decline in orders received by technology industry firms could threaten up to 20,000 jobs in the sector, according to lobby group Technology Finland.

One-third of the firms responding to the group's survey indicated that they had already dismissed workers or were planning to do so -- potentially leading to the loss of up to 10,000 jobs.

"During the second quarter the median order intake among our largest firms was 30 percent lower than one year ago," head economist Petteri Rautaporras of Technology Finland said.

Rautaporras said that the situation could impact negatively on employment trends.

"And if we consider the indirect effect on other areas of the national economy, we are talking about the loss of 20,000 jobs," he calculated, adding that many firms have a mounting concern about what will happen in 2021.

The survey suggested that firms expect weak demand in the sector to carry over into the third quarter of the year, creating continued problems for smaller firms as well as subcontractors.

Brighter prospects for tech services

The group represents a broad swathe of firms, from steelmakers to IT companies. The findings suggest that the corona-related situation is worse for the firms in the industrial segment than for companies providing technology services.

"In electronic and energy production, as well as machines, metals and metal refinery the outlook is currently poorer than for software or design and consulting services," Rautaporras noted.

Some 51 percent of firms answering the questionnaire expect production to slow down even further in the months ahead.

"It could well be that production will only bottom out at the end of the year," he speculated.

"The central message from the perspective of the national economy is that it seems that news from Europe and the rest of the world about positive industrial growth has not reached Finland," the economist added.

Companies represented by Technology Finland account for about half of Finland’s exports of goods and services. The group sent the survey to CEOs of their roughly 1,600 member companies, and received answers from 579 between 31 August and 4 September.

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