Austria, with its well-developed economy and high standard of living, is closely tied to other EU economies. The services sector forms some two thirds of the Gross Domestic Product of 232 billion Euros. Trade and industry make up about a third of the GDP, agriculture contributes some 2 %. With an average per capita GDP of about Euro 27,000, Austria ranks among the European Communities richest countries.
Energy – Grist to Industry's Mills
About one third of the Austria's energy consumption is covered by the national energy industry. Up to 70% of the energy comes from renewable sources such as water. Industry, which still is considered to be the national growth engine, is made up of mainly small and medium-sized enterprises. Austria's industrial sector is, however, one of the world's largest: between 1995 and 2003 industrial production increased nominally by 28% to a total volume of 90.9 billion Euros. With 11.4 billion Euros in 2003, mechanical and steel industry were the greatest contributors to Austria's total output, followed by chemical industry (10.6 billion Euros), and the electrical and electronics industry (10.2 billion).
A First-Class Services Sector
The services industry is Austria's fastest growing industrial sector. About one sixth of Austria's three million wage and salary workforce is employed in the trade and industry sector, which contributes some 13% to the GDP. Tourism is the country's biggest foreign exchange earner and the fastest growing sector: 220,000 people in 40,000 tourist establishments generate 10% of Austria's economic output. In 2012, Austria lodged some 131 million guests.
Europe's Deli Shop
7.5 million hectares of land are used for agriculture with cattle farming contributing 30% to the agricultural value-added business. Austria boasts an incredible 18,500 organic farms adding to the country's reputation as Europe's deli shop. 47 % of Austria is forested. Besides water, wood plays a more and more important role as renewable source of energy.
Exports: Wine & More
Among the insiders of the wine business, and despite being only a small wine growing country, Austria has gained an excellent reputation for producing some top-scoring wines. About 32,000 wineries produce an average of 2.5 million hectoliters of wine per year. Austrian wines are produced mostly from Riesling and Gruener Veltliner grapes but Sauvignon Blanc grapes are also used. It’s the whites, that get most of the attention, but the reds are also excellent.
Export is regarded as vital to Austrian economy. Main export commodities are machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, paper and paperboard, metal goods, chemicals, iron and steel; textiles, foodstuff. Austria's top-ten export commodities make up two-third of the entire export volume. Most exports go to other EC countries (mainly Germany), about 15% go overseas.