The share of agriculture in GDP is (2016) 0.7%. According to Youremailverifier, agriculture is also heavily subsidized in Switzerland to an even greater extent than in other industrialized countries, with ecological forms of production (around 10% of farms) being promoted in particular. The number of businesses continues to decline; since 1996 it has decreased by over a quarter (1996: 79,500; 2018: 50,900), while the average farm size increased by around a third in the same period. At 21 ha (2018), however, it is still small in a European comparison. Due to the mountain character of large parts of the country, the agricultural area only takes up 39% of the total area. About 74% of the farms specialize in the production of animal products. In particular the mountain regions of Jura,

The main crops used in arable farming are wheat, maize, barley, sugar beet and potatoes. The main growing areas are in the Swiss Plateau, in the northern Jura, in the Rhône, Rhine and Ticino valleys and in southern Ticino. In the climatically favored areas of the Central Plateau and the Alpine valleys, fruit and vegetables are also grown and viticulture is practiced (Swiss wines).

Forestry: In the Alps, the protective function of the forest is particularly important against avalanches and erosion. Around 9% of the total forest stock (2015: 1.27 million hectares) is designated as protective forest and is subject to special regulations with regard to its forestry use. About two thirds of the logging of 4.55 million m 3 (2015) is softwood.

Fisheries: The fishery is only of local importance. The catch (2014: 3,500 t) only covers a small part of domestic consumption.

Service sector

Measured by the number of employees, the most important service sectors are health and social services (709 700), trade and vehicle repair (651 500), the provision of professional scientific and technical services (409 300), education (350 600) and the hospitality industry (257 800). The banks as well as the finance and insurance companies are of particular importance – with 241,900 employees. The 253 (2017) banking companies are universal banks in the broadest sense. The management of private assets is of great importance. The export orientation of the domestic economy, the strong domestic capital formation, the political, monetary and economic stability as well as the attraction that Swiss banks exert on foreign capital (banking secrecy), make Switzerland one of the largest financial centers in the world. With its importance as an international banking center, the Swiss stock exchange (SIX Swiss Exchange AG) in Zurich. The insurance industry is similarly well developed, with reinsurance in particular being internationally successful. Important trading, exhibition and conference cities are Geneva (with the seat of numerous international organizations, among others), Zurich and Basel.

Tourism: Since the advent of alpinism at the end of the 18th century, tourism has a long tradition as an important economic factor. More than half of the (2019) 39.6 million overnight stays in hotels and health establishments were made by foreign guests, mainly from Germany (3.75 million overnight stays), the USA (2.05 million), and Great Britain (1, 62 million), China (1.28 million), France (1.24 million), Italy (927,300) and India (739,200). Income from travel by foreign guests amounted to around CHF 16.02 billion (2016). The tourist capital of Switzerland is made up in particular by the imposing mountain landscapes of the Alps. Well-known winter sports and mountain hiking destinations are, for example, Zermatt, Crans Montana and Saas Fee in the canton of Valais, Gstaad and Grindelwald in the Bernese Oberland and St. Moritz, Flims / Laax and Davos in the canton of Graubünden.

Popular travel destinations are also the climatically favored south side of the Alps (Canton Ticino), the so-called sun room of Switzerland, as well as the larger cities in the Central Plateau with their lovely old towns, picturesque lake shores and their wide range of congresses, trade fairs and cultural events. Worth mentioning here are, among others. Geneva, as the seat of numerous international organizations (UN, ICRC etc.), famous for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, Lucerne on Lake Lucerne, as a small town in central Switzerland known for its carnival and the festival, as well as Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, with one rich cultural offer.


Of the (2017) 1.08 million employees in the industrial sector, almost two thirds work in manufacturing, around 32% in construction and 5% in mining, energy and water management. In terms of the number of employees, the most important branches of industry are the electrical and precision engineering industries (including the watch and jewelery industry), followed by mechanical engineering and the metal industry, the chemical industry, the paper, publishing and printing industries, as well as the food and beverage industry. The share of the textile and clothing industry, which was once important especially in Eastern Switzerland, continues to decline. Swiss industry is highly diversified and characterized by small and medium-sized companies. In addition, there are also multinational companies due to the strong export orientation. A characteristic feature of Swiss industry is its decentralized distribution. Industrial sites can also be found in rural areas, in many mountain valleys and in the Jura. This structural feature results from the historical development as well as the specific nature of Swiss industry as a predominantly processing-oriented light industry.

The chemical industry, with its center in and around Basel, includes not only pharmaceutical production, but above all the production of dyes, plastics and fertilizers. It has by far the greatest added value. The precision engineering industry, which is mainly located in western Switzerland, has focused on watchmaking (since 1685 in Geneva, other centers in La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle) and is the most export-oriented branch of industry (more than 90% of watches are exported and 10% of the total export value). Since the development of electronic clocks, which are mainly manufactured in low-wage countries, the Swiss share in the world production of small clocks has decreased and has required far-reaching restructuring. This led to a concentration on high quality products. In connection with watchmaking, the manufacture of jewelry (especially in Geneva) and the manufacture of other precision engineering products emerged. The machine and metal industry is mainly located in north-east Switzerland and in the central plateau.

Switzerland Economic Sectors

Switzerland Economic Sectors
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