VIENNA. The corona crisis hit the domestic economy with full force in the past year 2020. Economic output (GDP) shrank by 6.7 percent to an unprecedented extent. Statistics Austria speaks of a “historic decline”. Even the economic and financial crisis did not cause such a massive slump in gross domestic product in Austria as the pandemic: In 2009 economic output fell by “only” 3.8 percent.
“Almost all economic sectors recorded significant declines, with the areas of accommodation and gastronomy as well as cultural, entertainment and personal services being achieved,” said Tobias Thomas, General Director of Statistics Austria, on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, according to a broadcast. In the meantime, however, the Austrian economy has achieved the turnaround. At the end of the second quarter of 2021, economic output was almost at the pre-crisis level.
Austria was hit harder by the pandemic than its most important trading partner Germany (-4.6 percent) or the European Union (-5.9 percent) as a whole, according to Statistics Austria on Eurostat data. Almost all economic sectors in this country were in the red. The hotel and catering industries were particularly hard hit by the corona pandemic. In this sector, economic output plummeted by around 40% in real terms. In the case of cultural, entertainment and personal services, the income quickly reached 20%, and in the case of transport services it was 13%.
In the manufacturing field, the decline in economic output, at 5.6 percent in real terms, was less than in the service sector (-7.3 percent). In construction, the real losses were three percent. Trade shrank by 4.2 percent in real terms in 2020, while financial and insurance services were one of the few sectors to record growth (+5.1 percent).
Month-long lockdowns caused consumer spending by private households to collapse by 8.7 percent. “By far the greatest slump was seen in the consumption of services – accommodation and gastronomy, transport, leisure, entertainment and culture – as well as in the area of clothing and shoes”, according to Statistics Austria. In contrast, the consumption of food and beverages is developing significantly positively. Public consumption fell by a real 0.5 percent.
Investment activity was also significantly reduced in the first corona year. The demand for fixed goods shrank by 5.2 percent, the hardest hit were vehicle investments (-10.9 percent in real terms) and deliveries from investments in machinery and equipment (-7.8 percent). The decline in construction investments was more moderate
Goods exports fell by 7.8 percent in 2020, more than imports of goods, which fell by 6.4 percent in real terms. The slump in exports and imports of services was much more pronounced (-17.3 percent and -16.8 percent in real terms), not least due to the restrictions on travel.
Due to the crisis, the number of hours worked fell by 8.7 percent last year. Due to the measures taken, such as the short-time working regulation, the number of all employed and self-employed persons in Austria only fell by 1.9 percent or around 90,000 to just over 4.7 million jobs. In 2020, employee remuneration also fell by 0.4 percent, with this item also including short-time working allowances, i.e. Statistics Austria. (APA)