Quarterly GDP: revised data up to Q2 2020

Bern, 28.09.2020 - In line with international recommendations, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) have undertaken a “benchmark revision” of gross domestic product (GDP) data. SECO is now publishing more detailed quarterly data on value added in trade and industry. The interpretation of this data from an economic perspective is remaining largely unchanged.

As the revised GDP data confirms, in the second quarter of 2020 Swiss GDP experienced its sharpest decline since the quarterly figures were first calculated in 1980 (–7.3%, pre-revision: –8.2%).

As well as the decision to ease public health restrictions relatively early, the industry mix in the Swiss economy also helped to prevent an even more drastic slump in GDP. This is highlighted in the quarterly data that SECO has recently published on value added in a number of important sectors. In particular, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry increased its value added by 0.3% in the second quarter despite the prevailing situation, thus stabilising the result for the manufacturing industry as a whole (revised from –9.0% to –10.3%). However, this was not enough to offset the losses sustained by the industrial sectors more sensitive to the economic cycle.

Demand fell across the board in the second quarter. Private consumption (revised from –8.6% to –8.1%) slumped in the wake of the pandemic and the measures taken to contain it, while investment in equipment also contracted sharply (revised from –11.7% to –10.0%). Finally, exports of goods (revised from –9.4% to –6.5%) and services (revised from –15.9% to –15.3%) also dropped due to abrupt falls in demand from abroad.

The compensation of the employees* fell significantly (–4.9%). Taking into account the short-time work compensation, which was widely used, the income losses for employees were much lower (–0.3%).

The «benchmark revision» underpinning these figures is explained in more detail in the accompanying technical note.** In a few cases, the historical data has been revised significantly – primarily in terms of absolute levels rather than trends over time. The revision has not changed the interpretation of the data from a business cycle perspective.

Press conference 28 September 2020 – 9.30 a.m. Media Centre in Bern: “Has the crisis been overcome?”
Eric Scheidegger, Head of SECO’s Economic Policy Directorate, and Philippe Küttel, Head of the FSO’s National Accounts Section, explain the current GDP figures and the economic situation.

Phoned-in questions from the press will be answered after the press conference from around 11 a.m.

* Compensation for work. Transfers such short-time working compensation are not included.
** «2020 revision of the National Accounts: main changes and structural and economic effects», available at www.seco.admin.ch/gdp.

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State Secretariat for Economic Affairs

Last modification 14.05.2024

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