Industrial output fell in September in both France and Germany as delays in receiving materials hampered production, data released today showed.
In Germany, where manufacturing for export is the lynchpin of the economy, industrial production fell by 1.1% in September from August, the national statistics agency Destatis said.
That followed a 3.5% drop in August.
The September drop confounded some analysts who had been expecting a gain and on an annual basis output is now down 1% from last year, having been higher in previous months.
Industrial production was also 9.5% below the pre-pandemic February 2020 level, in seasonally and calendar-adjusted terms.
"The main problem is well known: it's persistent supply chain disruptions," said LBBW economist Elmar Voelker.
Germany's car industry has been particularly hard hit due to a shortage of semiconductors, with production way below pre-pandemic levels.
Meanwhile, the shortage of skilled workers in Germany's building construction has intensified, an ifo Institute survey has found.
In October, 34.1% of construction companies reported a shortage of skilled workers, up from 33.5% in September.
In civil engineering, that number fell to 36.8% from 37.9%in the previous month.
"The shortage of skilled workers is a fundamental problem for the construction industry. More than one in three companies can't find enough staff. At the same time, demand for construction services remains very high, with order books full up," ifo researcher Felix Leiss said.
"In civil engineering, order backlogs have reached an impressive 3.8 months, while in construction they are at a record-breaking 5.2 months," he added.
Meanwhile in France, industrial output recorded its first fall in several months in September, dropping by 1.3% from August, according to the French statistics agency INSEE.
Automobile manufacturing suffered a 14.6% monthly drop.
If third quarter output was up 2.8% from last year, French industrial production remains 5.2% below its pre-pandemic level, said Insee.
Separately, aircraft manufacturer Airbus said that it delivered 36 planes in October, down from 40 in September, as it reported that some of its suppliers are having trouble increasing parts production after more than a year of working at a slower pace.
Such supply difficulties as economies reopen plus new Covid lockdowns elsewhere and transport delays have hindered many businesses and helped fuel a surge in inflation along with worries about the future of the global economic recovery.
In Spain, industrial output edged 0.3% higher after three months of drops, the INE statistics agency said.