Economic Trends/Outlook in Switzerland

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Economic Overview

Switzerland has a highly successful market-based economy. Its standard of living, its industrial productivity, the quality of its education system, and its health-care system are amongst the highest in Europe.
After several years of growth rate above the European average, the Swiss economy contracted sharply in 2009 (-1.9%) due to the international financial crisis. With a growth estimated at 2.9% of the GDP in 2010, the recovery was quick and vigorous, driven by the global recovery, as well as by the quick improvement of domestic demand. The 2011 outlook is marred by the appreciation of the Swiss frank towards the euro (currency of its main trading partners), which will hurt exports, and by the decrease in U.S. demand.

The economic recovery being uncertain, the government continues to pursue its stabilization measures, which concern, among others, supporting employment and promoting exports. In order to comply with the rule of limiting debt, the authorities should also adopt fiscal consolidation measures on the federal level. Special attention will also be paid to inflationary pressures.

In spite of the increase in unemployment due to the recession, Switzerland’s unemployment rate remains very low compared to the EU average. Estimated at 3.6% in 2010, it should recede slowly in 2011-2012.

Main Indicators 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
GDP (billions USD) 491.92 523.77e 594.22e 602.59e 610.35e
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -1.9 2.6e 2.4e 1.8e 1.8e
GDP per Capita (USD) 63,536 67,246e 75,836e 76,446e 76,968e
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) 1.1 0.3e 0.1e 0.5e 0.5e
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 54.9 55.0e 52.7e 51.2e 49.7e
Inflation Rate (%) -0.5 0.7e 0.9e 1.0e 1.0e
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 3.6 3.6e 3.4e 3.3e 3.0e
Current Account (billions USD) 43.10e 48.87e 49.75e 51.64e -
Current Account (in % of GDP) 8.7e 9.5e 9.6e 9.8e -

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database

Note: (e) Estimated Data


Main Sectors of Industry

Agriculture contributes around 1% to the GDP and employs less than 4% of the active population (only 10% of the land is suitable for cultivation). The primary agricultural products are livestock and dairy products. Swiss authorities grant numerous direct subsidies to farmers in order to meet strict ecological criteria such as soil protection. Organic farming is booming. There are hardly any mineral resources on Swiss soil.

Electricity is generated chiefly from hydraulic and nuclear power. Switzerland is renowned worldwide for the high quality of its manufactured products, which include watches, motors, generators, turbines, and diverse high-technology products. Located in Basel, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry exports all over the world.

The service sector contributes to over 70% of the GDP and employs slightly under three quarters of the active workforce. Well developed and globally competitive sectors such as banking, insurance, freight and transport, contribute substantially to the development of international trade across Switzerland. Tourism, which adds significantly to the economy, helps to balance Switzerland's trade deficit.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 3.9 23.8 72.4
Value Added (in % of GDP) 1.2 26.8 72.0
Value Added (Annual % Change) 1.4 -4.3 -1.0

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

For more detailed background on Industries in Switzerland, click here.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2011 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the Country Risk Analysis Provided By Ducroire.


Sources of General Economic Information

Federal Department of Economic Affairs
Federal Department of Finance
Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications
Federal Department of Home Affairs
Federal Department of Defense, Protection of the Population and Sport
Federal Department of Justice and Police
Statistical Office
Federal Office for Statistics
Central Bank
Swiss National Bank (SNB)
Stock Exchange
Switzerland Stock Exchange
Other Useful Resources
Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC)
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)
Federal Office for Professional Education and Technology
Federal Office of Metrology and Accreditation
Federal Office for the Environment, Forestry and the Landscape
Main Online Newspapers
Economic Portals

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