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 (51 hits)

WIFO Reports on Austria, 2024, (2), 13 pages
Online since: 02.02.2024 0:00
The WIFO Radar of Competitiveness tracks Austria's performance as a business location, taking into account economic, social and ecological targets. On average across 24 indicators, Austria has recently caught up with the top third of comparable European countries. The productivity indicators in 2022, the recovery in tourism and an improvement in the ranking for environmental patents have all contributed to this. In the dimension of labour market and social conditions, Austria has again lost ground.
WIFO Reports on Austria, 2024, (1), 14 pages
Online since: 26.01.2024 0:00
The Austrian economy will contract by 0.8 percent in 2023. Lower real incomes as a result of high inflation and global weakness in industry are weighing on economic development. The recovery of industrial production in Austria will be delayed, so that GDP will only grow by 0.9 percent in 2024. GDP growth is expected to reach 2 percent in 2025. Inflation will fall to 4 percent in 2024 and to around 3 percent in 2025. The labour market will deteriorate only temporarily.
The results of the WIFO-Konjunkturtest (business cycle survey) in July show a significant deterioration of economic assessments across all sectors. Economic assessments and expectations were particularly sceptical in manufacturing. Capacity utilisation declined in all sectors. In the total economy, as in previous quarters, the "shortage of labour force" was the most important obstacle to business activity, although "insufficient demand” Increased further in importance. Sales price expectations continue to show a downward trend.
WIFO Reports on Austria, 2023, (17), 14 pages
Online since: 12.12.2023 0:00
With the expiry of the COVID-19 related measures from February 2022, tourism demand in Austria picked up steadily. In 2022, the demand from international guests remained weaker than that of domestic travellers (overnight stays –13.1 to –2.7 percent, overall 10.3 percent; all compared to 2019). While the gap to the pre-crisis season almost closed in summer (–1.4 percent), there were still considerable shortfalls in the winter months of 2022 (January to April 2019-2022 –23.0 percent, November, and December 2018-2022 –5.8 percent). In winter 2022-23 (November 2022 to April 2023), the shortfall in overnight stays shrank to 4.9 percent. Although the overnight demand in summer 2023 could even exceed the peak of the 2019 season (overnight stays +1.5 percent; estimate) and 2023 could thus achieve the second-best annual result after 2019 (–1.5 percent), persistently high inflation and the weak economic performance in Austria and other European countries, especially Germany, are likely to dampen household spending noticeably.
WIFO Reports on Austria, 2023, (16), 14 pages
Online since: 13.11.2023 0:00
Subdued purchasing power, high energy prices and sharp interest rate increases lead to a mild recession in Austria in 2023; real GDP is expected to contract by 0.8 percent. In 2024, strong real income growth and a pick-up in world trade will ensure an economic recovery (real GDP +1.2 percent). In construction, however, the recession will intensify.
In 2021, there had been signs of an increase in agricultural prices due to the international economic upturn. Following the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, there was great uncertainty on all markets for internationally traded goods. This cause a sharp surge of prices. Agricultural goods, which were exported by Ukraine on a large scale, were affected first, then almost all other goods. The rise in prices led to high increases in the production value of Austrian agriculture in 2022, although the volume produced hardly increased. Despite the significantly more expensive production, revenues clearly outweighed costs, allowing a strong increase in income. The situation was similar in forestry. However, the favorable situation in the agricultural commodities market belies the challenges facing agriculture. According to scenario analyses, fundamental changes such as a reduction in cattle numbers are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This would be accompanied by a significant reduction in agricultural output.
WIFO Reports on Austria, 2023, (14), 15 pages
Online since: 13.11.2023 0:00
In 2022, unit labour costs in Austrian manufacturing increased by 2.2 percent year-on-year. This implies a significant improvement in relative unit labour costs, both compared with the weighted average of all trading partners (–3.3 percentage points) and with EU trading partners (–1.7 percentage points). Relative unit labour costs also improved compared with Germany, the most important trading partner (–1.4 percentage points). This development vis-à-vis our trading partners is being driven by a weaker increase in labour costs coupled with a stronger rise in productivity. The favourable exchange rate development had a supporting effect. When interpreting the data, long-term comparisons still need to take into account country-specific differences in the COVID-19 aid measures. The data for 2022 may also have been distorted by the different international approaches to cushioning high inflation.
The year 2021 was characterised by an economic rebound (real GDP +4,6 percent) as the COVID-19 pandemic subsided, and an accompanying 4.9 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions. In 2022 emissions fell significantly by –6.4 percent according to initial estimates, although economic output grew by 4.9 percent. The decoupling of economic growth and emissions development was primarily due to price-related energy savings. In addition, weather-conditions also influenced greenhouse gas emissions. For example, a mild winter curbed heating demand and a dry summer reduced hydropower output. The significant increase in energy prices due to the Ukraine war drove up expenditure on fossil energy imports. The capacity of the renewable energy technologies photovoltaics and wind energy was increased by 15.9 percent. This year's special topic deals with the current status of the legislative implementation of the EU's "Fit for 55" package.
The results of the WIFO-Konjunkturtest (business cycle survey) in July show a significant deterioration of economic assessments across all sectors. Economic assessments and expectations were particularly sceptical in manufacturing. Capacity utilisation declined in all sectors. In the total economy, as in previous quarters, the "shortage of labour force" was the most important obstacle to business activity, although "insufficient demand” Increased further in importance. Sales price expectations continue to show a downward trend.
The monitoring of selected indicators of digital transformation in various subsectors of the economy and society shows that Austria still ranks in the middle of the EU 27 in terms of digital transformation. The significant lag in the use of ultra-fast broadband Internet by private households or the basic digital skills of Austria's population in an EU comparison is also reflected in the low penetration of digital platform work. This is most likely to be found in the service sector, especially in accommodation and food service activities, and contributes to cost and time savings.
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Contact persons

apl. Prof. Dr. Hans Pitlik

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

Tamara Fellinger

Activities: Publications, website, subscriptions

Tatjana Weber

Activities: Publications, website, subscriptions