Austrians believe in economy

Austrians are cautiously optimistic about the state of their home country’s economy.

A new poll by Spectra shows that 49 per cent of residents expect the economy to develop similarly to the past months in the foreseeable future. Around 33 per cent fear a decrease while nine per cent think that the domestic economy will soon grow strongly. Spectra interviewed 1,000 Austrians for its survey.

The Institute for Economic Research (WIFO), Austria’s most renowned economic research organisation, said Austria’s gross domestic product (GDP) would grow by 0.4 per cent from 2011 to 2012. WIFO chief Karl Aiginger said the European economy had a slow start into the year. He explained that the situation would improve soon, given that the crisis in Spain and Portugal had failed to worsen.

Aiginger’s team of experts predict the Austrian GDP to grow by 1.4 per cent from 2012 to 2013. The inflation is expected to decline to 2.4 per cent. Austrians’ spending power might rise by 0.8 per cent from 2011 to 2012 and by 0.9 per cent from the current year to 2013, according to Aiginger.

Bernhard Felderer of the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) said his research centre expected the domestic economy to grow by 0.8 per cent from 2011 to 2012 before a growth rate of 1.7 per cent was possible for the following year. Both institutes, WIFO and IHS, issued the same figures concerning the domestic economy’s development in 2012 and 2013 last December.

Felderer said the domestic inflation might drop to 2.2 per cent in 2012 after last year’s 3.3 per cent. People’s purchasing power could increase by 0.7 per cent from 2011 to 2012 and by 1.1 per cent from 2012 to next year, according to the IHS.

WIFO officials warned that the number of Austrians without a job could climb by 18,000 this year. Economists said a further increase could not be ruled out for 2013. Austria had the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union (EU) last month when 4.2 per cent of people living in the country were looking for work. The Netherlands came second at 4.9 per cent, with Luxembourg third (5.2 per cent).

Around 4.14 million people had a job in Austria last year – more than in 2010 (4.09 million). The number of unemployed men edged up by 5.7 per cent from March 2011 to March 2012. The number of jobless women rose as well (plus 2.6 per cent).

The Economy Chamber (WKO) and the Federation of Industries (IV) announced they were more optimistic about the Austrian economy’s performance in 2012 and 2013 than WIFO and IHS researchers while the Austrian National Bank (OeNB) said it expected GDP to grow by 0.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. OeNB experts said Austria would not experience a recession this year but warned that a 0.1 per cent decrease of GDP was possible for the last three months of the current year.