Following the financial and economic crisis leading to the recession of 2008-09, and the sluggish economic activity between
2012 and 2015 (+0.7 percent p.a.), economic growth gained sustained momentum from mid-2016. For 2017 and 2018, WIFO expects
annual GDP growth of 2.9 and 3.2 percent, respectively. An average annual increase of 2.1 percent is expected for the forecast
period 2018 to 2022, up from a modest +1.3 percent p.a. recorded for 2013 to 2017. The expected rate would thereby exceed
the euro area average by ¼ percentage point. The favourable external business environment will stimulate export growth (+4.1
percent p.a.) and encourage investment in new machinery and equipment. Rising disposable household income will allow private
consumption to gain 1½ percent per year, after +0.7 percent p.a. in the previous five-year period. Buoyant growth in 2018
and 2019 will stimulate job creation beyond the increase in the labour force and lead to lower unemployment. However, from
2020 onwards, labour supply may again grow in excess of demand, with the unemployment rate edging up from 7.3 percent in 2019
to 7.6 percent in 2022. Inflation remains moderate over the medium term, and the inflation differential vis-à-vis the euro
area average should narrow. The Consumer Price Index is expected to increase at an average 1.9 percent per year. Under our
assumptions for future business conditions and policy settings, the general government account may reach balance as from the
middle of the forecast period, both in headline (Maastricht) and structural terms. As a result, the ratio of government debt
to nominal GDP would fall to around 63 percent by 2022, down by 20 percentage points from 2016.
In the first quarter of 2018, the Austrian economy grew by 0.8 percent compared to the previous quarter, thus similar to the
course of the previous year. Along with a buoyant domestic economy, that growth is underpinned by foreign trade, stimulated
by a dynamic global economy. In line with that, the Austrian labour market is also continuing to show a positive trend.
Lively business activity abroad is driving Austria's export industry and raises productive capacity utilisation, giving rise
to buoyant investment. Private consumption will continue to support domestic production as income growth is set to pick up
over the forecast period. Austrian GDP is projected to grow by 3.2 percent for this year and by 2.2 percent in 2019.
Economic growth is currently robust, both internationally and in Austria, and should sustain its momentum in the months to
come. Austria's labour market keeps recovering, even if unemployment stays high. Inflation has somewhat eased lately, narrowing
the differential vis-à-vis the euro area.
Economic activity is currently buoyant globally as well as in Austria and is expected to maintain its momentum also in the
first few months of 2018. The Austrian labour market continues to recover, although unemployment remains high. The inflation
differential vis-à-vis the euro area average persists.
Austria's manufacturing sector is benefitting from buoyant international business activity. The high degree of productive
capacity utilisation provides major stimulus for domestic investment. Private consumption also lends continued support to
output growth, even if it does not give a strong additional momentum at the advanced stage of the cyclical upswing, as income
growth remains moderate.
Both the global and the Austrian economy are growing vigorously at present. Sentiment indicators suggest that this momentum
will continue also in the first few months of the coming year. This benefits the Austrian labour market, although the unemployment
rate remains high. Inflation in Austria exceeds the euro area average.
The Austrian economy continues its upswing. Sentiment indicators have reached record highs in the euro area and the EU as
a whole. The US economy once again grew vigorously in the third quarter. In these economic regions, stock exchange prices
continue their sharp upward trajectory. Emerging market economies participate in this currently robust global economic activity
and report a further improvement in their economic performance.
Following the financial and economic crisis (GDP –3.8 percent in 2009) and the sluggish development in 2012-2015 (+0.7 percent
p.a.), economic activity picked up significantly from mid-2016 onwards. For the years 2017 and 2018, the current forecast
foresees an annual real GDP growth of 2¾ percent. In the medium term, an average growth of real GDP of 2 percent per year
is expected (2013-2017 +1.2 percent p.a.), which is about ¼ percentage point higher than the average of the Euro area. The
robust growth for the world economy has a stimulating effect on exports (+3.7 percent p.a.), which in turn has a positive
effect on equipment investments. Private consumption is expected to increase by 1½ percent p.a. over the forecast period due
to an increase in disposable income (2013-2017 +0.7 percent p.a.). The economic expansion combined with labour market policies
("Employment Bonus" and "Initiative 20,000"), will have a stronger positive effect on employment surpassing the dynamics of
labour supply, resulting in a drop in unemployment. From 2020 onwards, labour supply is expected to again increase more strongly
than labour demand, and as a result the unemployment rate is expected to rise from 8.0 percent in 2019 to 8.4 percent by the
end of the forecast period. Inflationary pressure will remain moderate in the medium term, and the inflation differential
to the Euro area average is expected to further decrease. The consumer price inflation will average of 1.9 percent p.a. On
the basis of the projected business cycle and the assumed economic policy framework the overall government budget is expected
to be balanced (both structurally and as defined according to Maastricht) from the middle of the forecast period onwards.
As a result, the government debt ratio (total public debt as a percentage of nominal GDP) is projected to decline by around
17 percentage points to nearly 64 percent between 2017 and 2022.
According to recent data, the Austrian economy experienced a deterioration in its international unit labour cost position
for goods manufacturing in 2016, compared to the weighted average of its global trading partners, as well as in comparison
to the EU trading partners and to Germany. This was mostly due to a higher rise in labour costs in Austria. In the long term,
the Austrian unit labour cost position was comparatively stable, with a negative trend since 2013.