WIFO Reports on Austria

The WIFO Reports on Austria are short English-language analyses of economic developments in Austria. Contributions on the topics of business cycle, competitiveness, macroeconomics, labour market, digitisation, cash flow and unit labour costs are published regularly, summarising the main developments in these areas in Austria.

The articles of the previous issues "WIFO Bulletin" and "Austrian Economic Quarterly" can be found here: WIFO Bulletin, Austrian Economic Quarterly

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Recent issues (10 hits)

Economic assessments of Austrian companies continued to improve across all sectors in July. Sentiment also brightened in the sectors recently affected directly or indirectly by lockdowns. The WIFO-Konjunkturampel (economic traffic light) continues to show green, confirming the trend of a strong economic upswing. Accordingly, capacity utilisation improved noticeably. For the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, companies cited the "shortage of labour force" as the most important obstacle to their activities. In manufacturing and construction, more companies than ever before reported a "shortage of materials or capacity" as the most important constraint.
Austria's performance in the digital transformation has been average by European standards. This is illustrated by a monitoring of selected indicators on the digital transformation of various areas of the economy and society. The growing importance of digital change has become quite evident in the current COVID-19 crisis: as digitalisation now affects all areas of life, basic digital skills and the use of digital infrastructure are no longer relevant for companies and the workforce only, but just as much for students and the rest of the population.
WIFO Reports on Austria, 2021, (8), 14 pages
Online since: 30.07.2021 0:00
The global economic outlook has improved significantly since the last forecast. This also has consequences for the expected recovery in Austria. Leading indicators point to the beginning of a boom phase, which in 2021 will be mainly driven by the favourable industrial economy. In 2022, tourism will contribute disproportionately to domestic economic growth. After the decline in the previous year (–6.3 percent), WIFO expects real GDP growth of 4 and 5 percent for 2021 and 2022, respectively.
WIFO Reports on Austria, 2021, (7), 18 pages
Online since: 21.06.2021 0:00
The COVID-19 pandemic and the official measures taken to contain it left a clear mark on the labour market in 2020. The drastic slump in the spring was followed by a recovery phase driven by the rebound of the economy and the summer tourist season. At the end of the year, however, the situation on the labour market deteriorated again due to the renewed lockdown in November and the wide absence of the winter season. Despite an increase in employment and a decline in unemployment, the crisis on the labour market is still not over in spring 2021. Unemployment in particular is still far away from the pre-crisis levels.
Economic development in 2020 was driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed to contain it. The Austrian economy recorded a massive slump. Private consumption was hit particularly hard, as were tourism, transport, trade, personal services and cultural and leisure facilities. The expansion of short-time working regimes supported per capita incomes. The COVID-19 crisis also had an impact on inflation, with unprocessed food and services becoming more expensive, while petroleum products dampened price increases.
WIFO Reports on Austria, 2021, (5), 14 pages
Online since: 30.04.2021 0:00
Economic activity is currently heavily dependent on the measures taken to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. To frame the range of future economic development, this forecast outlines two scenarios: in the opening scenario, the restrictions are completely lifted in the course of spring. The lockdown scenario, on the other hand, assumes a renewed closure of retail and personal services in April 2021. In the first scenario, economic activity picks up already in spring, with GDP expected to grow by 2.3 percent in 2021 and 4.3 percent in 2022. In the lockdown scenario, the recovery is delayed, with growth of 1.5 percent in 2021 and 4.7 percent in 2022. Private consumption and travel are still weaker in 2022 than before the COVID-19 pandemic. In the labour market, the crisis will remain visible for some time.
In the last quarter the economic assessments by Austrian companies were determined by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. In January, the economic indices were positive only in the construction industry. The WIFO-Konjunkturampel (economic traffic light) confirms this picture, showing yellow and indicating an interruption of the recovery process from summer. Accordingly, uncertainty remains high in all sectors. There are differences in the development of a capacity utilisation rates across sectors, but it remained low except for the construction industry. Companies named "insufficient demand" followed by "other obstacles" as the most important obstacles to economic activity.
WIFO Reports on Austria, 2021, (3), 13 pages
Online since: 29.01.2021 0:00
The new WIFO radar of competitiveness measures the performance of Austria using 24 selected indicators in four dimensions related to economic, social and ecological goals. STable values in the top third are recorded for real per-capita income and foreign trade. In the dimensions of "labour market and social living conditions" and "use of natural resources", Austria is also above the European average, but does not rise beyond a medium position. After moderate but persistent losses of position in the past years, on average across all indicators Austria ranks slightly behind the best third of European countries.
WIFO Reports on Austria, 2021, (2), 14 pages
Study by: Austrian Institute of Economic Research
Online since: 29.01.2021 0:00
In the summer of 2020, economic recovery in Austria was extraordinarily strong, even by international standards. The second lockdown depresses economic activity again in 2020, but – since industry is less affected – by less than the first. Overall, real GDP fell by 7.3 percent in 2020 and unemployment rose by one-third despite the use of COVID-19 short-time work. Without a further lockdown ("no policy change"), GDP is expected to grow by 4.5 percent in 2021; and by 2.5 percent with a third lockdown. Upcoming winter tourism in particular will be severely curtailed due to the ongoing travel warnings, or even fully cancelled. Only in the warmer season and with the vaccination coverage of the population can social and economic activities return to normal. In any case, unemployment will remain above the pre-crisis level in 2022.
WIFO Reports on Austria, 2021, (1), 21 pages
Study by: Austrian Institute of Economic Research
Online since: 29.01.2021 0:00
Austrian economic policy in 2020 was largely dominated by the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the implementation of the new government programme presented at the beginning of the year took a back seat, as did the solution of a number of structural problems facing the Austrian economy. This article summarises the main lines of economic development in 2020, focuses on the government's main economic policy measures and discusses the issues and necessary reform steps to be taken in 2021, such as climate policy or the long-term consolidation of public budgets. The references refer to in-depth WIFO research on the respective topics.

Contact persons

Hans Pitlik

Function: Senior Economist, Editor WIFO-Monatsberichte and WIFO Reports on Austria

Tamara Fellinger

Activities: Publications, website, subscriptions

Tatjana Weber

Activities: Publications, website, subscriptions