Austria's Beveridge Curve has shifted markedly outwards since labor market access for Eastern European neighbors was liberalized
in 2011. I quantify the effects of labor supply shocks by means of a structural VAR with sign restrictions, distinguish domestic-worker
from foreign-worker shocks and find that the latter contributed considerably to the counter-clockwise outward movement. On
impact, the arrival of additional job seekers facilitates matching but it lowers the chance for existing job seekers to be
matched, raising employment and unemployment simultaneously. In the medium run vacancies increase, the employment surge accelerates
and unemployment declines. Labor supply shocks caused by foreigners have an unambiguous and positive effect on domestic employment
in the long run, indicating complementarity between foreign and domestic labor. On a regional level Vienna, the capital in
the east of the country, was most heavily exposed to the recent labor immigration boom.
Family benefits in Austria, as a percentage of GDP, slightly exceed the OECD average. Monetary benefits largely dominate benefits
in kind, although their share has decreased markedly since 2000. At the same time, several reforms within the monetary benefit
system have encouraged fathers' involvement and improved the reconciliation of work and family for both parents. Austrian
family benefits, in a narrower definition, have increased from 6.6 billion € in 2000 to nearly 10.3 billion € in 2016. At
a ratio of 2.9 percent of GDP in 2016, family benefits have edged down from 3.1 percent in 2000 and have virtually stagnated
since 2006. Since the population up to age 19 is in secular decline, per-capita family benefits follow a long-term upward
trend, rising from 3,540 € per child in 2000 to almost 6,000 € nominal in 2016.
Austrian GDP grew by 0.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared with the previous period, after +0.9 percent in the
third and fourth quarter 2017. As a result, the economic momentum continued from the previous year and the boom phase continues.
The positive development of the real economy is also reflected in the labour market in an increase in employment and a decline
in unemployment. Inflation is currently still unusually restrained.
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.
WIFO Economic Outlook (German version), June 2018, 33 pages
Study by: Austrian Institute of Economic Research
Online since: 29.06.2018 10:30
Nach einem hohen Wachstum im Vorjahr dürfte die österreichische Wirtschaft 2018 mit +3,2% ähnlich kräftig expandieren. Die
Vorlaufindikatoren weisen jedoch auf eine zunehmende Abflachung der Dynamik hin. 2019 wird das BIP spürbar schwächer wachsen
(+2,2%). Erhöhte Unsicherheiten über die wirtschaftspolitischen Rahmenbedingungen im Ausland verstärken die Abwärtsrisiken
gegenüber der Prognose vom März 2018.
Die Unsicherheit der letzten Monate im Außenhandel hat bisher kaum Auswirkungen auf die Konjunktureinschätzung durch die österreichischen
Unternehmen. Die Ergebnisse des WIFO-Konjunkturtests im Juni 2018 zeigen im Großen und Ganzen eine Seitwärtsbewegung. Die
Beurteilung der aktuellen Lage verschlechterte sich etwas, die Konjunkturerwartungen bleiben zuversichtlich. Der Index der
aktuellen Lagebeurteilungen für die Gesamtwirtschaft lag im Juni saisonbereinigt mit 21,7 Punkten um 1,7 Punkte unter dem
Wert des Vormonats.