The industry in Plovdiv recovered quickly from the covid crisis and unemployment is again below 2%

The old tannery becomes a production base for medical equipment, high-tech productions replace the former factories

Established investors in the Thrace Economic Zone are opening new capacities

Modern factories also attract foreigners as workers – a cohort of Mexicans make chips

The industry of Plovdiv recovered quickly from the covid wave and currently unemployment in the region is again below 2%, according to the data of the national statistics.

“After the initial shock and closure, the number of unemployed reached 9%, which has not been seen in Plovdiv in the last 15 years. But

the local economy is well balanced

and people from sectors such as hospitality and catering, which were subject to the greatest restrictions, shifted to manufacturing jobs.

Thus, already at the end of 2020, unemployment fell to 4%, and at the moment it is half, which is below the sanitary minimum for the country”, explains the deputy mayor for business development Stefan Stoyanov.

As a result of this reorientation, hotels and restaurants are still hungry for staff, because factories offer good conditions and there is no mass return of workers to the service sector.

“Most companies in Plovdiv and the region are export-oriented – they export to Europe and North America, and they managed to reorganize quickly during the covid crisis. Even

created new jobs because they expanded their production

Plovdiv Region is a national leader in issuing permits for the construction of industrial bases”, says Stefan Stoyanov.

This growth in the construction of new factories also leads to the growth of residential construction, because jobs attract new people to Plovdiv.

Among the significant investments of the last year are the optical productions of “Optix” and “Kimcoop”, which opened new bases, expanding their previous factories, which were in Panagyurishte. In February 2022, the ribbon was cut on the new production and development center of “Optics” for military and civilian products.

It is located in the Southern Industrial Zone, and the investment is BGN 10 million.

“We chose Plovdiv because it has been developing extremely rapidly in recent years and is in excellent communication with Panagyurishte. My most valuable development resource is here, where there are well-established and authoritative educational institutions”, said the executive director of the company, Ivan Cholakov, at the opening.

The new base of “Kimcoop” is in the Trakia economic zone – near Tsaratsovo, and more than BGN 7 million have been invested in it. The work there is for highly qualified specialists.

The executive director of the factory, Kalin Georgiev, emphasized that one of the reasons for choosing the Plovdiv region was the many higher schools and, first of all, the Technical University.

“Both industries are very specialized, they are not large and do not provide hundreds of jobs, but they have a high added value, which is something we have always wanted. The 90s, when we enjoyed every open gas station or sewing factory on the island, are gone.

Investors are already moving their centers for new developments here.”

commented Deputy Mayor Stefan Stoyanov. The labor market in our country and specifically in Plovdiv remains relatively cheap. Because of high-tech production, it is no longer worthwhile to invest in the garment or shoe industry in the region, because there is nowhere to find workers willing to work for low wages.

That is why this type of production simply leaves the Plovdiv region.

On the other hand, some industries are upgrading their existing activities with more complex ones. The Maxcom bicycle factory is expanding once again and will produce electric bikes with the Austrian giant Pierer.

For the new plant, 200 acres were purchased in the Thrace Economic Zone. The investment will be over BGN 80 million and will provide over 1,000 new jobs.

“This is a successful step of a Bulgarian company

20-25 years in the market and growing well, partnering with the biggest in the world. In other words, we have a brand new Bulgarian industry that has recovered from the bankruptcy of the socialist economy and is now successfully competing on the world market”, summarizes Stefan Stoyanov.

Another example in this direction are two new productions – of medical equipment of the company BTL Industries, which will be on the site of the former fur factory in Plovdiv, and of nitrile gloves. The second base is already operating on “Kuklensko shosse” in Plovdiv, after it was opened in June. It is

the first production of medical gloves in the EU

Behind it stands the Bulgarian startup PPS Manufacturing, associated with BTL Industries. The investment is BGN 15 million.

The plant for high-tech medical equipment – for cardio, rehabilitation and beauty, is currently being built, will cost over BGN 20 million and is expected to be operational in 2023.

“It is good that there will be a high-tech factory in place of the old and polluting tannery,” added the deputy mayor.

Behind these investments are the efforts of the city administration.

“With my partners Anton Petrov and Dimitar Stamov, we never thought of investing anywhere else, but in Plovdiv. We are natives and we wanted our production base to be right in the city so that it would be convenient for our workers and they would not have to travel long distances.

Perhaps it is also a form of local chauvinism. And when we started looking for the assistance of the Plovdiv municipality, we got all the understanding that an investor needs.

We thank the mayor Zdravko Dimitrov and his deputy Stefan Stoyanov, we have always relied on them and our nitrile glove factory is now a fact, we are also working on the production base for medical equipment”, says the executive director of BTL Industries Georgi Petkov. These

modern factories attract workers not only from the country, but also foreigners,

because, at least until the inflation of recent months, wages in them grew faster than the cost of living.

“For example, in Sensata, which is an American chip manufacturing plant, a whole cohort of Mexicans work. Plovdiv offers very good living conditions. Wages are lower than in the West, but rents are incomparably cheaper, and so is the cost of living.

If inflation continues, we will have to make new analyzes of the ratio between income and expenses”, explains Stefan Stoyanov.

Another trend of recent years is

long-term investors to expand their productions

The example of Liebherr, which has had a refrigerator factory for 20 years in Radinovo in the Trakia economic zone, is emblematic. At the moment, their production base has an area of ​​100 decares, and 2500 people work there. And in Plovdiv they also built their own plant – for the production of concrete mixers.

The Bulgarian company “Ataro klima” already produces air conditioning systems for the whole of Europe, almost completely automated. For the last 30 years and with investments of BGN 700-800 million, the plant for non-ferrous metals has turned from an environmentally polluting enterprise into a high-tech and nature-friendly production.

The jobs in production in Plovdiv region in 2021 are 70,771. For comparison, in Sofia-city they are 56,529, and in Sofia-region – 18,995.
According to Stoyanov, this gives Plovdiv the leading place among industrial centers in the country.

The article is in bulgaria

Tags: industry Plovdiv recovered quickly covid crisis unemployment

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