|Switzerland has a prosperous and stable modern
economy. Its currency remains one of the world's strongest and its inflation
rate is one of the world's lowest. The unemployment rate is Switzerland
is generally low. Most people work for relatively small firms. In fact,
98% of Swiss companies have 50 or fewer employees.
More than 50% of the population is employed in the service sector, including banking and other financial services, insurance and tourism. Tourism brings in huge revenues year-round. Tourists enjoy hiking in the mountains in summer and skiing in winter.
|About 40% of the population is employed in industry,
trade and crafts. Industries must import most raw materials. This sector
includes the machine and metal industries, the watch industry, the textile
industry and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Most products
are exported to foreign countries. Exports account for a large part of
Switzerland's prosperity. Switzerland's main trading partners are members
of the European Union, the United States and Japan.
About 6% of the population is employed in agriculture. This sector is strongly supported by government. Swiss agriculture consists primarily of small, owner-operated farms. Dairy and beef production accounts for more than half of the farming activities. The leading crops are barley, potatoes, sugar beets and hardy fruits such as apples, pears and cherries. Grapes are also grown for wine. Organic farming is gaining popularity in Switzerland.
|The Swiss are known for their skill, integrity
and punctuality. They pride themselves on honouring their contracts, working
hard and doing their job with efficiency and a deep sense of responsibility.
Absenteeism in the workplace is low. Switzerland has fairly long work hours,
but employees enjoy a minimum of 4 weeks vacation every year. An important
feature of the Swiss economy is a long-standing agreement between employers
and employees to settle differences by negotiation. Strikes are rare. The
views of trade unions and professional associations often influence economic
More than half of employed women work part-time, compared to 8% of working men. Women, on average, earn a third less than their male counterparts. With the rapidly rising cost of living in the cities, many women are choosing to work to help support the household.