PARIS -- French industrial production fell 2.2% in 2012 from the level of output in 2011, the national statistics institute INSEE said Monday.
Output by the manufacturing sector, excluding production by the energy and mining sectors, fell 2.7%, an official at INSEE said.
The French government is increasingly worried about low growth and signs of severe strains in the industrial sector, with deep problems in the auto industry being the latest example.
The country is running a near-record structural trade deficit, and the government has introduced measures to try to improve the competitive position of industry by switching part of payroll charges to general taxation.
Industrial production fell sharply in the fourth quarter — 1.8 from output in the third quarter.
In the manufacturing sector, output fell 2.5%, the data showed.
On a monthly basis, industrial output was almost flat in December falling 0.1% from the level in November when it rose 0.5%, the data showed.
Output by the manufacturing sector, excluding activity by the energy and mining sectors, was also about steady, rising 0.1% as in November.
In the last quarter compared with output in the third quarter, production by the sector making equipment for transportation fell 5.5 and for refining 9.1%.
Output of electrical, electronic, computer equipment and machines fell 2.3%, and production of other industrial goods fell 2.6%.
But production by the agriculture and food industries rose 0.8%.
On a 12-month basis, output in the last quarter by the manufacturing sector fell 3.9%.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013