Country Listing

Austria Table of Contents


The Industrial Sector

Figure 9. Economic Activity, 1993


Industry in Austria is diverse but consists mainly of traditional industries of the second industrial revolution. It is concentrated in various processing industries, each of which has long specialized in its particular sector and had often gained a global reputation for high standards of production and service.

Industry exists throughout the country. Textile production represents the principal industrial activity of the mountainous west, whereas machinery production occurs principally in the east, as does production of glass, electrical goods, and chemicals (see fig. 9). Heavy industry tends to be located around Vienna and in several central river corridors. Iron and steel production is concentrated around Linz and Leoben.

Although industrial production is an important component of GDP, most companies are small and privately owned. Almost half employ fewer than five workers. The larger companies are often state-owned, either directly or through Austrian Industries (see Structure of the Economy , this ch.).

The metals industries, both production and related manufacturing, accounted for 43.1 percent of industrial value added in 1991. Chemicals were the second most important segment with 12.6 percent, followed by foods and beverages with 11.8 percent, forest products and paper with 11.6 percent, textiles, leather, and clothing with 7.7 percent, glass, pottery, and quarrying with 5.3 percent, mining with 4.7 percent, and petrochemicals with 3.2 percent.

Iron and steel are largely produced by Vereinigte Österreichische Eisen- und Stahlwerke (United Austrian Iron and Steel Works), commonly known as VÖEST-Alpine, one of the major components of Austrian Industries. The company pioneered a worldwide steel production method named the LD process (after the Austrian cities of Linz and Donawitz, where it was developed). Iron and steel production in turn formed the basis for other industries, such as mechanical engineering, machine tools, vehicle production, powder metallurgy, factory engineering and construction, and automobile components.

Chemicals and petrochemicals constitute another major industry, producing such items as synthetic textile fibers, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and a wide range of fuels. Electrical engineering is another important component of Austria's industry and specializes in the production of precision and optical equipment and generators. Food also constitutes an important industry, ranging from milk produced in the mountains of western Austria to Viennese pastries.

Data as of December 1993