Development Trends in the Alps


Economy, Jobs and Commuters

Jobs in the Alps have increased by 14.9% in the last 20 years (Source: CIPRA).


Jobs in the Alps have increased by 14.9% in the last 20 years. That is significant growth. This job growth has taken place mainly in the urban areas, where in 2001 almost 80% of all jobs were to be found. On the other hand, in the suburban and peripheral municipalities the number of jobs has decreased. This also supports the results in tables 3 and 5. The suburban and peripheral municipalities are increasingly becoming purely residential and ‘sleeping’ areas. Work takes place in the urban centre.

In over 40% of all Alpine municipalities the number of jobs has been declining between 1981 and 2001. Of the suburban and peripheral municipalities, 57% are affected by job loss. It appears more favourable in the urban centres and in the tourism municipalities. Here only about one quarter of all municipalities are losing jobs.

Table 6: Job availability in the different types of municipalities 1981-2001, not including Italy and Slovenia (Source: CIPRA 2007).
Further Readings & Links


In the year 2001 the commuter balance (=incoming minus outgoing commuters) for the entire Alpine Region was almost –490,000 people, meaning that the number of people who live on the Alps and work outside of the Alpine Region is almost half a million higher than the number that travel into the Alpine Region to work. In 1991 the commuter balance was still at –415,000 people. In 2001 the urban centres, the tourism areas and the other municipalities have positive commuter balances. In the suburban and peripheral municipalities the negative commuter balance is, by definition, particularly high.

Table 7: Commuter balance in the different types of municipalities 1991-2001. Source: Adapted from CIPRA 2007).

PERLIK et al. (2001)
This article presents a demarcation of urbanized zones in the Alps based on the French method of European functional urban areas (EFUAs). The comparison of 1980 and 1990 data on employment shows that growth sectors in the Alps are lagging behind those in peri-Alpine conurbations.

Regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Regional Rate of Unemployment

The regional gross domestic product (Gross Domestic Product, GDP) is an indicator of the annual economic production of a region. The regional gross domestic product per capita provides an indication of the prosperity of the resident population. In the Alps in 2004, the mean regional gross domestic product per capita was somewhat higher than the European average. By far the highest values are to be found in Liechtenstein.

Unemployment in the Alps was at 6% in the year 2003. In the same year, the EU-15 average was 8%. Of the 99 NUTS-3 ("NUTS" = "Nomenclature des Unités Territoriales Statistiques",a geographical subdivision of countries for statistical purposes), which is used in the EU.regions in the Alps, only 13 had an unemployment rate of less than 3%. The distribution across the Alpine Region shows that the western and eastern edges have higher unemployment rates than the central Alpine areas in South Tyrol, western Austria and eastern Switzerland. As would be expected the unemployment rates were higher in those areas that have a low regional gross domestic product.

The 10 richest regions in the Alps have above average accessibility (see LINK TO Transport System and Regional Development). However, they are not amongst the best of the NUTS-3 regions with regard to accessibility. Their unemployment rates are mostly below the Alpine average. Exceptions are Kempten (D) and Rosenheim (D). The 10 regions with the lowest regional gross domestic product are located in Slovenia and eastern Austria. Their accessibility is below average while unemployment rates are above average when compared with all NUTS-3 regions in the Alps.

Map 7: Regional Gross Domestic Product (Source: PSAC 2007). Click on the image to enlarge it.

Map 8: Regional Unemployment Rate (Source: PSAC 2007). Click on the image to enlarge it.
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BÄTZING (2000)
Rapid Socio-Economic Assessment for the Alps Ecoregion. A WWF-Study in two parts.