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Economic Overview

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

The Austrian economy is deemed one of the most stable in Europe. The country relies on a very strong network of export-focused SMEs, excellent academic standards and significant spending for research and development. Following the setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Austria’s economy registered a strong rebound in 2021. The country’s output expanded strongly in the first half of 2022, driven by robust private consumption, and despite the negative affect of the energy price shock (which caused a contraction in the second half of the year) the overall growth was estimated at 4.7%. Economic activity is set to slow down in 2023 due to lower household consumption and business investment, with the IMF forecasting growth at 1% before increasing to 1.9% the following year; whereas the European Commission’s projections are more conservative (at 0.3% and 1.1%, respectively).

Thanks to the phasing out of support measures taken in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic (including short-time work, fixed cost subsidies, as well as other transfers), the government headline deficit decreased to 2.6% in 2022 from 4.5% one year earlier (IMF). Despite sluggish growth, it should follow a downward trend in 2023 and 2024 (at 1.2% and 1.1%, respectively – 2.8% and 1.9% as per the EU Commission projections). Similarly, the debt-to-GDP ratio decreased to 78.5% in 2022 on the back of strong nominal GDP growth and is forecasted at 77.3% this year and 75.6% in 2024. Inflation spiked at 7.7% in 2022 driven by electricity and gas prices, but is expected to gradually decrease to 5.1% in 2023 and 2.5% in 2024. In order to mitigate the consequences of high energy prices, an electricity cap for households came into effect by the end of 2022 and should be in force until mid-2024.

Austria has a low percentage of unemployment compared to other countries in the Eurozone and the EU, as well as global comparison. After picking in 2021, unemployment decreased to 4.5% last year. The participation of women and older workers in the labour market is expected to increase over the forecast horizon outpacing employment growth, thus unemployment rate should remain stable. Nominal wages are expected to increase, however, due to the effects of inflation there will be real wage growth only in 2024. Overall, Austrians enjoy one of the highest GDP per capita (PPP) in Europe, estimated by the IMF at USD 66,680 in 2022.

Main Indicators 202020212022 (E)2023 (E)2024 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 434.88480.69471.69515.20530.11
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -
GDP per Capita (USD) 48,85753,52952,26556,80258,155
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -4.9-4.8-3.7-2.5-1.0
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 82.982.377.874.972.6
Inflation Rate (%)
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) 12.951.701.555.983.32
Current Account (in % of GDP)

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , October 2021

Country Risk

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Main Sectors of Industry

Out of its 8.91 million population, Austria has a labour force of about 4.5 million people, of whom many are highly educated and skilled. The agricultural sector employs 4% of the active population and represents 1.1% of GDP (World Bank, latest data available). Cattle farming and viticulture are the country's main agricultural activities. Organic farming is incredibly popular in Austria: according to the latest available data (IFOAM), 23% of all its farms are organic and cover over a quarter of the total agricultural area, the highest rate in the EU and the second in Europe after Liechtenstein. Austria benefits from significant subsidies from the European Union provided by the Common Agricultural Policy. Consequently, agricultural exports are continuously increasing. The regions of Lower Austria, Styria and Upper Austria are those with the highest number of agricultural and forestry holdings (Statistics Austria).

The industrial sector, which is comprised of SMEs connected to the Central European markets, represents 25.7% of the GDP and employs one-fourth of the active population. The manufacturing sector represents 17% of GDP (World Bank). The main industrial sectors are the metal industry, electrochemistry and engineering. Over the past fifteen years, Austria has successfully implemented policies for the economic specialization of each region (Lander): Upper Austria (iron, steel, chemical and mechanical engineering), Salzburg (electrics, wood and paper), Vorarlberg (textile, clothing), Carinthia (wood, pulp and paper industry), Styria (automobiles, manufacturing) and Vienna (financial services). The renewable energies sector, especially hydroelectric power, is booming and its performance has exceeded those of the tourism and construction sectors, while the mechanical engineering sector grew by 140% in the last 20 years, with a pace ten times higher than the euro-area average. After suffering during the coronavirus pandemic, industrial production has been recovering firmly in 2022 (it was 7.6% higher in August 2022 than in the year-earlier period – Statistics Austria).

The services sector dominates the economy, contributing 62.6% of GDP and employing 71% of the country's active population. Every sixth job is provided by tourism, which has a major impact on the country’s economy. According to the last available information from the Austrian Statistical Office, tourism accounts for 4.1% of the country’s GDP, with an added value (direct and indirect) of more than EUR 16.6 billion. However, these figures are much lower than the pre-COVID level (7.6% of GDP and EUR 30.3 billion, respectively).

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 3.7 25.4 71.0
Value Added (in % of GDP) 1.2 25.8 62.4
Value Added (Annual % Change) 4.5 6.8 2.8

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Euro (EUR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 0.940.890.850.890.88

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.



Foreign Trade

The Austrian economy is heavily dependent on foreign trade, which accounts for 111% of GDP (World Bank, latest data available). Its trade with the countries of the European Union accounts for almost 70% of its total trade (WTO). Accounting for 33.1% of imports and 37% of exports, machinery and vehicles were the most important product group in Austrian foreign trade in 2021. Other significant exports were manufactured goods (21.3%), chemical products (15.3%) and other manufactured goods (10.7%); overall, 84.4 % of Austrian exports were concentrated in these four product groups in 2021. The main import groups were manufactured goods (16.3%), chemical products (14.7%), and other manufactured goods (13.8% - Statistics Austria).

Germany is, by far, Austria’s privileged partner for both imports and exports. In 2021, Austrian exports to Germany represented 30.1% of total exports, while imports represented 33.1%. Italy (6.8%), the U.S. (6.7%) and Switzerland (4.9%) were among the main export destinations, whereas for imports China was the second main origin (6.3%), followed by Italy (5.5%) and Switzerland (5.5% - Statistics Austria). The manufacturing industry is well integrated into Germany’s value chain. Austria remains therefore dependent on the economic conjuncture in Germany and in other central and eastern European countries.

Austria imports more goods than it exports: USD 219.5 billion of goods were imported in 2021 (+27.4% y-o-y) as opposed to USD 202.8 billion of exports (+20.3% y-o-y - WTO latest data available). In 2021, exports of services amounted to USD 70.2 billion while imports stood at USD 67 billion. Austria’s current account has invariably been in surplus since 1999: in 2021, the external balance of goods and services stood at 0.6% of GDP (World Bank), down from 3% one year earlier. According to preliminary results from Statistics Austria, the total value of imports of goods in the period January to September 2022 stood at EUR 158.1 billion, whereas exports amounted to EUR 144.3 billion, marking an increase of 21.4% and 18.7%, respectively.

Foreign Trade Values 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 175,755193,722184,758172,200219,520
Exports of Goods (million USD) 168,026184,815178,670168,538202,806
Imports of Services (million USD) 55,15063,86065,22655,76966,987
Exports of Services (million USD) 66,13675,11175,74164,25170,210

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 104.9107.9107.9100.2111.2
Trade Balance (million USD) 1,2011,4014,8933,902-336
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 12,47013,27115,74612,9982,508
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 50.952.552.148.655.3
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 54.155.555.851.655.9

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20222023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change)
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change)

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

International Economic Cooperation
Austria is a member of the following international economic organisations: European Union, ICC, Schengen Agreement, IMF, G-9, WTO, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Austria click here. International organisation membership of Austria is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Austria can be consulted here.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Germany 29.3%
Italy 6.6%
United States 6.3%
Switzerland 5.2%
France 3.9%
See More Countries 48.6%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
Germany 38.2%
Italy 6.0%
Czech Republic 4.9%
Netherlands 4.9%
Switzerland 4.7%
See More Countries 41.3%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data



Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Alexander VAN DER BELLEN (since 26 January 2017)
Chancellor: Karl NEHAMMER (since 6 December 2021)
Next Election Dates
National Council: 2024
Presidential: April 2028
Current Political Context
The Austrian political landscape has been characterized by increasing polarization in the past few years. After being appointed as leader of the ÖVP by the federal party committee, Karl Nehammer was nominated as chancellor, leading a coalition government formed by the Austrian People's Party and the "Die Grünen" (The Greens). During 2022 the government has been active in diversifying its energy sources, bringing the share of gas imported from Russia to 50% following the Ukraine conflict and the EU sanctions that followed, down from 80% at the beginning of the year. Towards the end of 2022, Chancellor Nehammer affirmed his commitment to keeping both Romania and Bulgaria out of the Schengen area, noting that lifting the veto would only be possible once border protection in these two countries had been improved.
Main Political Parties
Austria has a multi-party system. The main parties include:

- Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP): centre-right, Christian democratic and conservative
- Social Democratic Party (SPÖ): centre-left,
- Freedom Party (FPÖ): right-wing, nationalist and anti-immigration
- The Greens (GRÜNE): centre-left
- The New Austria and Liberal Forum (NEOS): centre, liberal
Executive Power
The President is the Chief of State, while the Federal Chancellor is the Head of Government. The Federal Chancellor enjoys executive powers. The President is elected by direct popular vote for a six-year term and the Chancellor is traditionally chosen by the President from the majority party in the National Council. The Council of Ministers is chosen by the President on the advice of the Chancellor.
Legislative Power
The legislature in Austria is bicameral. The parliament consists of two chambers: The National Council (the lower house) whose 183 members are elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms, and the Federal Council (the upper house) whose 61 members are elected by provincial parliaments to serve five- or six-year terms. The President can dissolve the National Council on the recommendation of the Chancellor. The Federal Council only reviews legislation passed by the National Council and can delay but not veto its enactment. Most authority, including that of the police, rests with the federal Government but the states have considerable responsibility for welfare matters and local administration.


COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
The summary of the EU’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the website of the European Council.
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) in Austria, please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.