Gross domestic product in the third quarter of 2021: continuing economic recovery
Bern, 26.11.2021 - Swiss GDP grew by 1.7%, following an increase of 1.8% in the second quarter.* Value added grew markedly in the affected service sectors as a result of the further relaxation of COVID measures. Private consumption rose substantially in line with this. Overall, GDP was more than 1% higher in the third quarter than the pre-crisis level seen in the fourth quarter of 2019.
By the summer, most of the public health restrictions had been either lifted or considerably relaxed. Thus the strongest growth in the third quarter appeared in sectors that had been most affected by the precautionary measures. While value added in accommodation and food services (+110.6%) grew rapidly following the reopening of catering businesses and there was a marked recovery in tourism by international guests, value added in the third quarter for this sector was still substantially below the pre-crisis level. Arts, entertainment and recreation (+24.9%)** also registered very strong growth thanks to the less restrictive measures. In line with the increasing mobility of the population, transport and communication (+4.4%) continued to recover, while most other service sectors grew too.
Trade (−3.9%) recorded a noticeable decline in value added; in the retail sector (−4.1%) sales returned to normal after the strong growth of the previous quarter. In particular, purchases in food, furnishings and electronics declined, while consumer spending on travel, restaurant services, recreation and culture rose strongly. Overall, private consumption (+2.7%) continued its strong recovery of the previous quarter. In line with this, there was a significant increase in imports*** (+3.1%).
In contrast, construction investment (+0.1%) practically stagnated and value added in construction (+0.2%) was subdued. Investment in equipment (−1.3%) declined slightly after a positive previous quarter. Not only did volatile investments in research and development decline after a strong second quarter, global supply shortages had a negative impact on investments, for example in automobiles.
Global supply chain disruptions also had an impact on production, which declined in parts of the industrial sector, such as metallic products and vehicles manufacturing. In contrast, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry expanded substantially once again. All in all, the manufacturing sector (+2.0%) experienced considerable growth. Exports of goods**** (+2.3%) rose accordingly, while exports of services (−2.2%) declined.
Further information on GDP in the third quarter can be found in the winter 2021/2022 edition of ‘Konjunkturtendenzen’ at www.seco.admin.ch/gdp
The coronavirus pandemic has also had an impact on statistical production. As recommended by Eurostat, the European statistics office, the basic data and methods used for calculating the current GDP have been reviewed in depth. This ensures that no distorting effects arise as a result of the COVID pandemic.***** Nonetheless, it is possible that, given the current data situation, more extensive revisions than usual will be necessary in the coming quarters.
* Real rate of change compared with the previous quarter. Adjusted for sporting events, GDP growth was 1.5% in the third quarter and 1.6% in the second quarter.
** Adjusted for sporting events: 9.4%.
*** Services and goods excluding valuables.
**** Excluding valuables.
***** See https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/metadata/covid-19-support-for-statisticians.
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