The Economy in the Provinces in the First Quarter of 1995
The economic upswing continued in the first quarter of 1994 (gross value added excluding agriculture and forestry: +2.8 percent on a year-on-year basis), despite growing pessimism due to exchange rate turbulences. The regional pattern of economic growth was dominated by manufacturing output, which benefited most from the export boom. Provinces with a high concentration of firms supplying parts to other enterprises or producing investment goods were especially favored. In the west, the export-based manufacturing sector increased output by some 10 percent over last year's level. Economic growth in the western provinces was slowed down, however, by weather-related production losses in the energy sector and poor results in winter tourism. Nonetheless, in the first quarter of 1995 the west of Austria (defined according to the NUTS-I regions) achieved a growth rate 0.5 percentage points higher than the Austrian average. Economic growth in the eastern region (2.7 percent) remained almost unchanged from the previous quarters, because export gains to East-Central Europe were offset by the negative effects of more intense import pressure. The eastern region is burdened with a large share of industries which had been protected from foreign competition before Austria's accession to the EU (such as the food and beverage industry), and with low-wage industries which are now threatened by competition from the reform countries in Eastern Europe. Good results from the energy sector (thermo power plants) and international city tourism were not sufficient to compensate for the markedly weaker growth of output in manufacturing (+4.7 percent). In the south, economic growth slowed down significantly at the beginning of the year as a result of demand shortfalls and changes in foreign exchange rates (+2.0 percent). Setbacks in the construction industry and in retail trade, which lost market shares to shops across the border, reduced the growth rate in the south by 1 percentage point. Special factors that operate over time as well as differences in the economic structure result in large regional growth differentials. Upper Austria posted the highest growth rate (+5.3 percent), followed by Lower Austria (+4.3 percent), Vorarlberg (+3.6 percent), and Styria (+3.2 percent). Provinces with below-average growth rates (Vienna +2.0 percent, Tirol +1.7 percent, Salzburg 0.8 percent) are those whose economies are dominated by services. In Burgenland (+0.1 percent) and Carinthia (–0.4 percent), the least developed provinces, economic activity stagnated; for Burgenland, the first quarter of 1995 marks the end of a period of extraordinarily high growth. Even though the current economic upswing has not buoyed the labor market significantly, employment expanded faster (with some impact on unemployment) in the more dynamic provinces. In the first quarter, when unemployment is mostly determined by seasonal factors, the highest unemployment rates were recorded in Burgenland (12.1 percent), Carinthia (11.8 percent), and Styria (10.5 percent), the lowest in the western provinces, especially in Salzburg and Vorarlberg.
Starker Konjunkturaufschwung im Westen Österreichs. Die Wirtschaft in den Bundesländern im I. Quartal 1995; The Economy in the Provinces in the First Quarter of 1995
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