Economic environment

The world economy was hit in 2009 by the worst recession since 1945. It was triggered by the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008 and the resulting turbulences on the global financial markets. In total, the real gross domestic product of the euro zone may have fallen by 3.4% in 2009 compared with the previous year. Austria appears to have performed marginally better at a preliminary value of 3.9%. However, a shift in the trend began toward the middle of the year. After consistent declines since the second quarter of 2008, the euro zone exhibited real GDP growth of 0.4% in the 3rd quarter of 2009 (compared to the previous quarter). Comprehensive state stimulus packages as well as the expansive monetary policy of the European Central Bank (ECB) were also key contributors to this development.