EC says Austrian economy will rise above EU average

The European Commission (EC) said Austria’s economy is to grow stronger than it had expected half a year ago.EC officials forecasted a 1.3 per cent year on year rise today (Weds) after giving a 1.1 per cent growth prediction last December.The new prediction matches the forecasts of Austria’s two leading think tanks.The Institute for Higher Studies (IHS) recently said it would stick to its 1.3 per cent year on year growth forecast made in December, while the Institute for Economic Research (Wifo) corrected its 2010 prediction from 1.5 per cent to just 1.3 per cent.The Austrian economy declined by 3.6 per cent in 2009 compared to the previous year.The EC also said today it expected the European Union’s (EU) economy to grow by one per cent, and the economy of the Eurozone countries – the 16 EU member states which have the Euro as their currency – by 0.9 per cent.It said the unemployment rate in the EU’s 27 states is to soar by an overall 10.7 per cent year on year, adding that Austria’s jobless rate will reach 5.1 per cent this and 5.4 per cent next year.Around 4.9 per cent of people living in Austria are out of work. This is the second-lowest share in the EU after the Netherlands’ 4.1 per cent rate. The current EU average is 9.6 per cent.Official figures presented yesterday showed that 3,255,601 people had work in Austria in April, up by 0.5 per cent compared to the same month in 2009.Social Democratic (SPÖ) Labour Minister Rudolf Hundstorfer however said he would not regard this development as a sign for sustainable recovery. He promised the ministry would continue to especially support people who have been out of work for a long period of time.