Austria's economy looks confident despite political division

Austria's economy looks confident despite political division
By Robert Hackwill
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A reversal in unemployment fortunes and robust trade have done little to ease tensions about the future in Austria's mutating economy.


Economically speaking the EU’s fourth richest country may seem to have little to complain about.

Recent history has seen Austria benefit more than most from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Communism, as it has been able to build trade using the dormant links and networks from the Hapsburg empire.

More recently, Austria was less affected by the 2008 financial crisis than many, and has not had to apply anything like the austerity policies of most of its European partners.

Unemployment is below both the EU and Eurozone averages, but pertinent during an election so focused on attitudes to immigration. Unemployment is much higher for Austria’s immigrant community, even more so for females.

Analysts claim this is because of public resistance to interraction with foreign workers, especially females wearing traditional dress.

A little more than a year ago Austria had some of the worst unemployment in Europe with the rate nearly three percent higher, but the workforce is growing, mainly due to immigration, and so is the shadow economy.

Some are nervously eyeing the election result for its possible effect on tourism, which accounts for 15% of GDP.

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