By Atom Markarian
Armenia registered a 8.7 percent growth of its industrial output in the first seven months of this year, resulting in thousands of new jobs, a senior government official announced on Wednesday. Ashot Shahnazarian, deputy minister of industry and trade, said the growth was helped by a 60 percent surge in light industry and a 30 percent increase in the mining sector.
The light industry expansion was in turn achieved by the resumption of production operations in four textile factories. Shahnazarian told reporters that four more export-oriented factories are to reopen later this year as more and more foreign textile firms move to capitalize on the country’s cheap workforce.
Official figures show a robust growth in the mining sector despite the continuing fall in world prices of copper and molybdenum, one of Armenia’s main exports.
According to Shahnazarian, some 7,000 new jobs have been created in the manufacturing sector over the seven-month period. Ten percent of them were in the area of information technologies.
The overall industrial growth contrasted with a 15 percent drop in the output of chemical enterprises. But the government hopes that the recent reactivation of the Nairit chemical giant will give the sector a strong boost.