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The year 1982

1982 saw the global economy suffering its most serious recession since the end of the Second World War. Economic development in the industrialised countries of the West was dictated by an inadequate level of economic growth, high unemployment figures, a fall in industrial production, a reduction in investment, rising national debts and unfavourable payment balances in foreign trade. Of the leading industrialised nations, only Japan achieved any growth worth talking about in terms of real gross national product (+2.7 percent) and industrial production (+1.1).

In the wake of a global recession, 1982 also saw the Federal Republic being overtaken by a “serious crisis in growth and employment”, which was how the economic situation was summed up by the Federal Ministry of Economics in its Annual Economic Report, which identified the following reasons: “This economic slump is affected both by the challenges and difficulties facing the global economy and also by poor domestic developments. [...] The necessary adjustments in response to the wide-ranging changes in the supply, demand and cost structures in the global economy have, for some time now, not been taking place as smoothly as in the past. Above all, we have not seen the innovations and investments to the extent urgently required for the creation [...] of an adequate number of jobs”.

As the sharp fall in domestic demand, especially in the second half of the year, resulted in collapses in economic performance, the possibility of growth in gross domestic product was excluded (-0.6 percent). Industrial production fell by 3.1 percent and the number of insolvencies reached a record high of almost 15,900, with unemployment figures rising further to 1,833,000. Nor was the chemical industry spared from the severe recession, still only achieving a level of capacity utilisation of approximately 70 percent and having to record a fall in sales in real terms, for a nominal increase of 2.7 percent. The German mechanical engineering industry held its sales figures at quite a stable level, cementing its position as the world's largest exporter of machinery.

Annual report 1982 (German)