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Macroeconomic development

In 2021, the global economy recovered from the coronavirus-induced crisis, although economic development is still feeling the reverberations. The decline in the number of new infections and the fast progress made with the vaccination rollout led to a strong upswing in consumer spending in the advanced economies in spring of 2021. Despite this, the delivery and capacity bottlenecks that began to materialize at the start of 2021 led to disruptions in global value chains and slowed industrial output in many countries. Rising global demand, coupled with delivery constraints on the supply side, is driving a dramatic spike in producer and consumer prices.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects a 5.9 % increase in world economic output for 2021. The economies of our core markets, too, have recovered from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. GDP in Germany increased by 2.7 % year-on-year, although growth slowed significantly towards the end of 2021 owing to delivery bottlenecks, supply shortages, and the fresh wave of infections. Rising producer prices, delivery bottlenecks, and higher consumer spending drove soaring inflation across many parts of the world in the second half of 2021.

The Bitkom-ifo-Digitalindex, calculated on the basis of the business situation and expectations, brightened substantially in the first half of 2021 before tapering off to some extent in the second half. The business climate in the ICT sector remained relatively buoyant compared with the economy as a whole.

In the United States, the economy grew by 5.7 % in the reporting year, already returning to its pre-pandemic level in the second quarter of 2021. The substantial increase in consumer spending was the major driver of this growth. The U.S. labor market recovered in 2021 from the coronavirus-induced slump, although unemployment rates remained at a higher level than before the crisis. Consumer prices rose sharply year-on-year in 2021, mainly due to delivery bottlenecks, higher energy prices, and rising rents. In response to the strengthening economic activity, the U.S. Federal Reserve tapered its bond-buying at the end of 2021, signaling a likely rise in interest rates in the near future. Despite higher numbers of new coronavirus cases in some countries, the national economies of our Europe operating segment also posted substantial growth in economic output and declining non-employment rates. The central banks of Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland have raised interest rates in an effort to curtail high inflation.

The following table shows the GDP growth rate trends and the unemployment/non-employment rates in our most important markets. The unemployment rate for Germany and the non-employment rates for the other countries are presented in conformance with ILO standards.

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GDP for 2019 compared with 2018

GDP for 2020 compared with 2019

GDP estimate for 2021 compared with 2020

Unemployment/
non-employment rate in 2019

Unemployment/
non-employment rate in 2020

Estimated unemployment/
non-employment rate in 2021

Germany

1.1

(4.6)

2.7

5.0

5.9

5.7

United States

2.3

(3.4)

5.7

3.7

7.7

5.5

Greece

1.8

(9.0)

7.1

17.9

17.6

15.3

Romania

4.2

(3.7)

7.0

3.9

5.0

5.0

Hungary

4.6

(4.7)

7.4

3.3

4.1

4.1

Poland

4.7

(2.5)

4.9

3.3

3.2

3.3

Czech Republic

3.0

(5.8)

3.0

2.0

2.6

2.7

Croatia

3.5

(8.1)

8.1

6.6

7.5

6.7

Netherlands

2.0

(3.8)

4.0

3.4

3.8

3.5

Slovakia

2.6

(4.4)

3.8

5.8

6.7

6.8

Austria

1.5

(6.7)

4.4

4.8

6.0

5.0

Source: Eurostat, European Commission, national authorities. Last revised: January 2022.

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GDP for 2019 compared with 2018

GDP for 2020 compared with 2019

GDP estimate for 2021 compared with 2020

Unemployment/
non-employment rate in 2019

Unemployment/
non-employment rate in 2020

Estimated unemployment/
non-employment rate in 2021

 

Germany

1.1

(4.6)

2.7

5.0

5.9

5.7

 

United States

2.3

(3.4)

5.7

3.7

7.7

5.5

 

Greece

1.8

(9.0)

7.1

17.9

17.6

15.3

 

Romania

4.2

(3.7)

7.0

3.9

5.0

5.0

 

Hungary

4.6

(4.7)

7.4

3.3

4.1

4.1

 

Poland

4.7

(2.5)

4.9

3.3

3.2

3.3

 

Czech Republic

3.0

(5.8)

3.0

2.0

2.6

2.7

 

Croatia

3.5

(8.1)

8.1

6.6

7.5

6.7

 

Netherlands

2.0

(3.8)

4.0

3.4

3.8

3.5

 

Slovakia

2.6

(4.4)

3.8

5.8

6.7

6.8

 

Austria

1.5

(6.7)

4.4

4.8

6.0

5.0

 

Source: Eurostat, European Commission, national authorities. Last revised: January 2022.

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