Flag of Switzerland

Switzerland Economy Profile 2019

Home > Factbook > Countries > Switzerland

Economy - overview

Switzerland, a country that espouses neutrality, is a prosperous and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP among the highest in the world. Switzerland's economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-technology, knowledge-based production. Its economic and political stability, transparent legal system, exceptional infrastructure, efficient capital markets, and low corporate tax rates also make Switzerland one of the world's most competitive economies.

The Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's to gain access to the Union’s Single Market and enhance the country’s international competitiveness. Some trade protectionism remains, however, particularly for its small agricultural sector. The fate of the Swiss economy is tightly linked to that of its neighbors in the euro zone, which purchases half of Swiss exports. The global financial crisis of 2008 and resulting economic downturn in 2009 stalled demand for Swiss exports and put Switzerland into a recession. During this period, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) implemented a zero-interest rate policy to boost the economy, as well as to prevent appreciation of the franc, and Switzerland's economy began to recover in 2010.

The sovereign debt crises unfolding in neighboring euro-zone countries, however, coupled with economic instability in Russia and other Eastern European economies drove up demand for the Swiss franc by investors seeking a safehaven currency. In January 2015, the SNB abandoned the Swiss franc’s peg to the euro, roiling global currency markets and making active SNB intervention a necessary hallmark of present-day Swiss monetary policy. The independent SNB has upheld its zero interest rate policy and conducted major market interventions to prevent further appreciation of the Swiss franc, but parliamentarians have urged it to do more to weaken the currency. The franc's strength has made Swiss exports less competitive and weakened the country's growth outlook; GDP growth fell below 2% per year from 2011 through 2017.

In recent years, Switzerland has responded to increasing pressure from neighboring countries and trading partners to reform its banking secrecy laws, by agreeing to conform to OECD regulations on administrative assistance in tax matters, including tax evasion. The Swiss Government has also renegotiated its double taxation agreements with numerous countries, including the US, to incorporate OECD standards.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$523.1 billion (2017 est.)
$514.5 billion (2016 est.)
$506.5 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)
$679 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
1.7% (2017 est.)
1.6% (2016 est.)
1.3% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$62,100 (2017 est.)
$61,800 (2016 est.)
$61,500 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving
33.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
32.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
33.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 53.7% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 12% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 24.5% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: -1.4% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 65.1% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -54% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 0.7% (2017 est.)
industry: 25.6% (2017 est.)
services: 73.7% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
6.6% (2014 est.)
Labor force
5.159 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 3.3%
industry: 19.8%
services: 76.9% (2015)
Unemployment rate
3.2% (2017 est.)
3.3% (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 8.1%
male: 8.1%
female: 8% (2017 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 7.5%
highest 10%: 19% (2007)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
29.5 (2014 est.)
33.1 (1992)
Budget
revenues: 242.1 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 234.4 billion (2017 est.)

note: includes federal, cantonal, and municipal budgets

Taxes and other revenues
35.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
1.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt
41.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
41.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: general government gross debt; gross debt consists of all liabilities that require payment or payments of interest and/or principal by the debtor to the creditor at a date or dates in the future; includes debt liabilities in the form of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), currency and deposits, debt securities, loans, insurance, pensions and standardized guarantee schemes, and other accounts payable; all liabilities in the GFSM (Government Financial Systems Manual) 2001 system are debt, except for equity and investment fund shares and financial derivatives and employee stock options

Inflation rate (consumer prices)
0.5% (2017 est.)
-0.4% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate
0.5% (31 December 2016)
0.75% (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
2.6% (31 December 2017 est.)
2.65% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$621.8 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$555.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$621.8 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$555.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$1.253 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.166 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$1.519 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.495 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$1.541 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
Agriculture - products
grains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs, dairy products
Industries
machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments, tourism, banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals
Industrial production growth rate
3.4% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance
$66.55 billion (2017 est.)
$63.16 billion (2016 est.)
Exports
$313.5 billion (2017 est.)
$318.1 billion (2016 est.)

note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland

Exports - commodities
machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products
Exports - partners
Germany 15.2%, US 12.3%, China 8.2%, India 6.7%, France 5.7%, UK 5.7%, Hong Kong 5.4%, Italy 5.3% (2017)
Imports
$264.5 billion (2017 est.)
$266.3 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
machinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles
Imports - partners
Germany 20.9%, US 7.9%, Italy 7.6%, UK 7.3%, France 6.8%, China 5% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$811.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$679.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external
$1.664 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$1.663 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$1.489 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.217 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$1.701 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.528 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -
0.9875 (2017 est.)
0.9852 (2016 est.)
0.9852 (2015 est.)
0.9627 (2014 est.)
0.9152 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on December 7, 2019

Economy Comparison