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Marked economic slowdown on horizon in Switzerland

On 20 September 2022, government forecasters announced downgraded expectations for GDP growth in Switzerland. © Evgeniy Lapshin | Dreamstime.comA group of experts focused on predicting business cycles downgraded expected GDP growth to 2.0% in 2022 and to 1.1% in 2023. After a positive first half of the year the Swiss economy now faces a deteriorating outlook, said the group. A tense energy situation and sharp price increases are weighing on economic prospects across Europe. As...

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Chart of the week: 11% of Swiss over 64 work

More and more people 65 and older are continuing to work across the OECD. The reasons for working beyond this particular point in life vary from person to person. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.comLabour force participation among this age group across the OECD ranges from 2.4% (Romania) to 41.7% (Indonesia). In Switzerland, the rate was 11.1% in 2020, higher than it was in 2005 (7.5%), but lower than it was in 1991 (14.9%). The OECD average is 15.5%. Men in Switzerland over...

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Swiss rate hike ends negative rates in Europe

On 22 September 2022, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) bumped its policy interest rate up by 0.75 percentage points to 0.5%. The move pushed the Swiss Franc down by around 2% against the euro. © Marekusz | Dreamstime.comThe recent hike brings Europe’s experiment with negative interest rates to a close. Only Japan now has a negative rate. The SNB rate hike follows a 0.75 percentage point hike by the ECB on 14 September 2022 and one of the same amount by the US Fed on 21 September 2022....

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Swiss housing market tightens further in 2022

Data published on 12 September 2022 show how the pool of available housing continues to shrink in Switzerland. Photo by ILOVESwitzerland on Pexels.comOn 1 June 2022, there were 61,496 empty dwellings in Switzerland, representing 1.31% of the total housing stock. The vacancy rate has fallen 0.23 percentage points compared to a year ago. There were 9,869 fewer empty dwellings compared to the previous year, representing a striking fall of 13.8%, wrote the Federal Statistical Office (FSO)....

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Pilots at SWISS threaten to strike despite offer of extra 60 million francs

Pilots at the airline SWISS could strike from 17 October 2022 if their demands are not met, reported RTS. © Serdar Tibet | Dreamstime.comPilots at the airline are remunerated under a collective labour agreement. The airline recently presented an offer CHF 60 million higher than their orignal offer. However, on 16 September 2022, Aeropers, a union representing the pilots, said the enhanced offer is not enough. This offer also represents a significant improvement over the last agreement...

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Swiss to vote on government’s pension reform plan

Across much of the developed world pension finances are getting squeezed as populations age, baby boomers in particular. Switzerland’s government has a reform plan. However, some who don’t like it called a referendum to oppose it. Arguments for and against the changes are being aired before a vote on 25 September 2022. Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels.comThe proposed changes, dubbed AVS 21 (AHV 21), include raising the state pension (AVS/AHV) age of women from 64 to 65, the current...

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Sharp rise in Swiss health premiums inevitable, says association

This week, less than a month before next year’s health insurance premiums are unveiled, santésuisse, a health insurance association, warned of unusually high hikes in the cost of Switzerland’s compulsory health insurance for 2023, reported RTS. © Attila Barabás | Dreamstime.comHealthcare costs rose 6.4% in 2021 and are expected to rise 4% in 2022 and 2023, said santésuisse in a press release. The situation is very serious, said Verena Nold, a director at santésuisse. Insurers’...

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Swiss electricity prices to rise as much as 280% in 2023

Next year, average electricity prices in Switzerland are set to rise 27% with significant difference depending on where you live, reported RTS. Photo by Burak The Weekender on Pexels.comIn 2023, an average household consuming 4,500 kWh a year will pay an extra CHF 261 a year for their electricity. However, there will be big differences depending on where you are. In Zwischbergen, a municipality in Valais, 4,500 kWh will cost CHF 383.05 in 2023. The same electricity in Gaiserwald in...

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38% of Swiss speak more than one language at work

In many places one language is all that is required at work. In Switzerland, 37.7% of workers surveyed reported regularly using two or more languages at work, according to data published by the Federal Statistical Office on 6 September 2022. Photo by fauxels on Pexels.comWhile 62.3% used only one language at work, 22.2% regularly used two and 15.5% used three or more. These figures are somewhat boosted by a linguistic quirk of Switzerland. In the majority German-speaking region, the...

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Swiss government launches energy saving campaign

On 31 August 2022, Switzerland’s federal government launched its campaign to cut energy consumption to reduce the risks of an energy shortfall over the coming winter. Photo by Castorly Stock on Pexels.comThe government stressed that there was currently no energy shortfall. However, Simonetta Sommaruga, the minister in charge of energy, said it was important to cut energy consumption to avoid the risk of forced cuts. An energy cut of a few weeks could cost the Swiss economy CHF 100...

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