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Austria

Economy

Forestry, cattle raising, and dairying are prevalent throughout the alpine provinces; Vorarlberg has an ancient textile industry. About 3% of the population is employed in mostly small-scale agriculture; the country is nearly self-sufficient in terms of food production. In Upper and Lower Austria and in Burgenland, tillage agriculture predominates: the chief crops are potatoes, sugar beets, fruit, barley, rye, and oats.

Manufacturing is diversified and accounts for over 30% of the gross national product. More than half of the industries are concentrated in the Vienna basin; Linz, Steyr, Graz, Leoben, Innsbruck, and Salzburg are the other chief industrial centers. Many of the country's industries were nationalized after World War II, together with the largest commercial banks. The chief manufactures are machinery, vehicles, iron and steel, communications equipment, chemicals, and paper and wood products. Food processing is also important, and many minerals necessary for industry (graphite, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, and lignite) are found in Austria. The country also has deposits of crude oil and salt, and is rich in hydroelectric power. In recent years, service industries, including a large banking sector, have become important to Austria's economy, and they now employ some 70% of the nation's workforce. Tourism is also important. The main trading partners are Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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