Updated report on the economic consequences of Covid-19 in Basel-Stadt
Department of Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs
According to the latest economic forecast, Basel-Stadt as a business location might be less severely impacted by the consequences of Covid-19 than Switzerland as a whole. Nonetheless, some industries in Basel-Stadt are struggling with severe negative consequences. The crisis is also leaving its mark on the labour market. Despite this, Basel-Stadt is still an attractive, competitive location that offers numerous benefits with an economic structure that has a stabilising effect in times of crisis. These and other statements are contained in a new edition of AWA's report (the Office of Economy and Labour) on the economic impact of Covid-19 on Basel-Stadt.
Various different indicators show that the Covid-19 pandemic abruptly ended the positive economic development of Switzerland and the Canton of Basel-Stadt in recent years. In its economic forecast of January 2021, BAK Economics therefore assumes that the real GDP only grew by around +1% in the Canton of Basel-Stadt in 2020 (following growth of 6% in 2019). Life sciences and other industries such as finance and insurance are having a stabilising effect. However, the future economic development of Basel-Stadt as a location continues to depend on many factors that are difficult to forecast. These factors include health policy measures, availability of vaccines, consumers' mood in Switzerland and economic recovery abroad.
Some Basel-Stadt sectors have faced sharp drops in revenue due to health policy measures and falling demand. The slump is particularly evident in the Basel-Stadt tourism industry: in 2020 the number of accommodation bookings dropped by 62% compared with 2019. The hospitality industry and cultural sector are also being negatively impacted. The canton and Federal Government have responded with several coordinated programmes since spring 2020 and are supporting hard-hit businesses during this difficult time. These programmes include: short-time working compensation, rental aid, guarantees for business loans and financial hardship aid.
There are also signs of the pandemic's impact on the labour market. Short-time working compensation has so far prevented a wave of redundancies. There was a slight drop in the unemployment rate in Basel-Stadt in autumn 2020 and the figure remained stable at 3.9% in September and October. However, the unemployment rate rose in November (4.0%) and December (4.3%).