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Engineering industries continue in the doldrums

The Swiss mechanical and electronic engineering industries say they have been "hit hard" by the global financial crisis and report that the outlook is "pessimistic".

At a news conference in Bern on Tuesday, the umbrella organisation Swissmem said exports were down by 23 per cent compared with the same period last year to SFr31.4 billion ($29.7 billion).

It said that sales during the first half were down by 19.1 per cent and new orders by 34.3 per cent compared with the first half of last year, although the drop in orders was less marked in the second quarter than the first.

“With this decline in orders, we know it will have an impact on sales so we are aware that the next three months will be very difficult,” Swissmem director Peter Dietrich told

The organisation said the extent of the crisis called for “extraordinary measures”.

It said it supported the government’s third economic stabilisation programme and was calling for short-time work to be extended from the present 18 months to 24 months.

After a steady increase in full-time positions in the years up to 2008, the number of people working in the industries has fallen by 10,419 over the past year and stood at 338,355 at the end of June.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR