Global EconomyOutlook > Structural Changes

Industrial production of the leading industrial countries 1980 - 2022

Structural changes in the course of the industrial production of the industrialized countries

The long-term anaylysis of the last 40 years uncovers substantial structural changes in the course of the industrial production of the leading industrial countries USA, Japan, Germany and the EU.

Map industrialized countries

Update May 19th, 2021, primary publication March 12th, 2012 - A view of the industrial production over the last 40 years makes  structures visible that are hidden for a yearly research. New structures have been emerging in the past and it is reasonable to assume that they will also consist with good probability in the next years.


The course of the industrial production in the leading industrialized countries USA, Japan, Germany and the 27 resp. 28 EU countries shows substantial changes in the years since 2000 compared with the 20 years prior to them from 1980.

The industrial production continuously growing from 1980 to 2000

The twenty years lasting period from 1980 to 2000 shows altogether a continuous growth of the industrial production.

The worldwide industrial production from 1980 until 2000.


At the beginning of the 80s and the 90s economic crises occurred within ten years leading to a decrease of industrial production. Such decreases do not last longer than one year and by one or two years later the pre-crisis level of production is already again exceeded.


An exception of it forms Japan. After sharp growth until 1990 a ten-year phase of the stagnant industrial production follows. In 2000, i.e. 10 years later, the industrial production hardly advanced. 


In these twenty years lasting period the automation technology had been running through a stormy upward development. The electro mechanics is replaced by microelectronics creating ever more highly integrated components and solutions. Small, high-innovative enterprises arise making top dogs’ life tough.

Growth rates lessening between 1980 and 2000

The continuous growth in the 20 years from 1980 to 2000 is associated with weakening growth rates in industrial production. This is confirmed by a look at the diagram above. The growth rates between the two crises were higher than after the second crisis in 1991/94. Only the USA is an exception.

The structural changes in the course of industrial production since 2000

Three structcural changes in the course of industrial production have been emerging since 2000.

The worldwide industrial production of the industrialized countries from 2000 until 2022.

The impact of the crisis 2008/2009 is unique within the last 40 years

2010 the industrial production is on the level of the year 2000. There was not such a setback in the twenty years lasting period from 1980 to 2000.


The duration between two crises is cut into halves

First the duration between two economic crises, the crisis cycle, consisted of 10 years, i.e. from the start of the 80's to the beginning of the 90's and finally to the beginning of the new millennium. The last economic crisis, however, already originated in 2008/2009, four years, after industrial production had exceeded the pre-crisis level in 2004.


The duration of the crises is extending

Between 1980 and 2000 the industrial production’s crisis-laden decrease took one year having exceeded the pre-crisis level in the following one to two years. But at the beginning of this millennium the crisis duration already extended to three years. And the economic crisis of 2008/2009 was overcome only in its sixth year in the USA and Germany while the European Union exceeded its pre-crisis level marginally in 2017 while Japan's industrial production persists below its pre-crisis level.

Again shrinking growth rates from 2014 to 2018, renewed crisis 2019/2020

Even in the almost 20 years from 2000 to 2018, the growth rates of industrial production since the last global economic crisis have shrunk in comparison to the time between the two global economic crises of 2001/2003 and 2008/09. The diagram above shows that this applies to all the industrial countries considered.

"This fact is essential for the outlook for 2019" wrote this magazine in February 2019. As a matter of fact, the average growth rates of the year 2019 went over to an economic crisis.


This development is analysed in the trend report in this magazine.

The fourth structural change: Galloping national debt

It is well-known that the international financial system belonged to the triggering factors of the world economic crisis 2008/2009.


The impact of the crisis was so heavy and dramatic that this international financial system faced its immediate breakdown. To its last resort goverments of the industrial countries pumped unprecedented amounts of money into the economic and financial system.

National debt in the USA, Germany, Japan and the EU from 2000 to 2021.

Since then galloping national debts in the industrial countries are rampant - the fourth structural change since 2000.

In addition to the galloping national debt, the debts of companies and consumers are also galloping.

Debt means nothing other than buying now and paying later. What would the course of industrial production in the industrialized countries look like without the galloping governmental and non-governmental debt, without the galloping credit financing of demand?

And despite this indebtedness, industrial production's growth rates remain lower after the last crisis in 2008/09 than before.