The economy of the Republic of Austria may be characterised as a social market economy similar in structure with that of Germany.
In 2004 Austria was the fourth richest country within the European Union, having a GDP (PPP) per capita of approximately € 27'666, with Luxembourg, Ireland, and Netherlands leading the list. The
GDP per capita in 2008 is about $39,300 in American currency.
Vienna was ranked the fifth richest NUTS-2 region within Europe with GDP reaching € 38'632 per capita, just behind Inner London, Luxembourg, Brussels-Capital Region and Hamburg.
Growth has been steady in recent years 2002-2006 pendling between 1 and 3.3 %. Because of its position in central Europe it has gained significance as a gateway to the new EU member states.
Austrian farms, like those of other west European mountainous countries, are small and fragmented, and production is relatively expensive. Since Austria's becoming a member of the EU in 1995, the Austrian agricultural sector has been undergoing substantial reform under the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Although Austrian farmers provide about 80% of domestic food requirements, the agricultural contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) has declined since 1950 to less than 3%.
Although some industries are global competitors, such as several iron and steel works, chemical plants and oil corporations that are large industrial enterprises employing thousands of people, most industrial and commercial enterprises in Austria are relatively small on an international scale.
Most important for Austria is the service sector generating the vast majority of Austria's GDP. Vienna has grown to finance and consulting metropole and has established itself as the door to the East within the last decades. Viennese law firms and banks are among the leading corporations in business with the new EU member states. Very important for Austria's economy is tourism, both winter and summer tourism; It's the 10th most visited country in the world with over 18,2 million tourists in 2001. Tourism accounts for around 10% of Austria's GDP. Its dependency on German guests has made this sector of Austrian economy very dependent on German economy, however recent developments have brought a change, especially since winter ski resorts such as Arlberg or Kitzbühel are now more and more frequented by Eastern Europeans, Russians and Americans.
Trade with other EU countries accounts for almost 66% of Austrian imports and exports. Expanding trade and investment in the emerging markets of central and eastern Europe is a major element of Austrian economic activity. Trade with these countries accounts for almost 14% of Austrian imports and exports, and Austrian firms have sizable investments in and continue to move labor-intensive, low-tech production to these countries. Although the big investment boom has waned, Austria still has the potential to attract EU firms seeking convenient access to these developing markets.
Total trade with the United States in 1999 reached $6.6 billion. Imports from the United States amounted to $3.7 billion, constituting a U.S. market share in Austria of 5.4%. Austrian exports to the United States in 1999 were $2.9 billion or 4.6% of total Austrian exports.