Workforce productivity, BFS

Swiss GDP has risen sharply over the past few decades, and has continued to increase slightly in spite of the global economic crisis in recent years. Productivity growth however lags somewhat behind the rest of Europe

People crossing a room
© FDFA, Presence Switzerland

Between 2000 and 2015 Switzerland's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by an average of 1.9%, while growth in European Union countries was 1.5%. In spite of this, productivity in Switzerland as measured in working hours only increased by 0.5% each year between 2007 and 2014 (and by +0.6% between 2000 and 2006). During this time period, productivity in the euro zone rose by 1% between 2000 and 2007, and by 0.8% between 2007 and 2014. Since the financial crisis, growth in productivity has been hindered. 

In 1980, the difference in Switzerland’s per capita GDP and the average of the OECD countries was around 43%. In 2016, the gap was only 33%. In comparison to the EU28, the gap in per capita GDP in 2016 was 39%. 

The reasons for this decline in workforce productivity include an increasingly aging population and the fact that Switzerland has a longer working day than many other countries. This has resulted in a new growth policy and strategy to increase productivity, which was adopted by the Federal Council in January 2015.

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