The sector is expected to grow significantly in the next years. Currently, the industry employs more than 50 000 people, generates revenues of € 1.05 BN and is closely related with other industries like electronics and electrical engineering. There has been a significant relocation of some manufacturing activities (both equipment and assembly) from developed countries to the lower-cost Bulgaria.
The Bulgarian machine building industry, which employed 143 000 people in 2008, has been seriously hurt by the economic crisis after 2009 and many of its sectors are still struggling.
About half of Bulgaria's machine building industry is export-oriented, and has been doing increasingly well in 2010 and 2011, while the other 50% of the firms who traditionally produce for Bulgaria's domestic market continue to be in trouble.
Bulgarian machine building exports grew by 38.5% in 2010 compared with 2009, which is seen as indication that the export-oriented plants have overtaken substantially those producing for the domestic market, whose output in 2010 was only about 51% of the output in 2008.
Sectors such as machines for hydraulics, however, enjoy growth but face another crucial issue – shortage of qualified labor.