The Economy division (WI) produces information relating to the state and development of the Swiss economy within an integrated and coherent system of economic statistics. It is concerned with the design, realisation and evaluation of surveys among enterprises in the sectors of agriculture and industry and services. Information is gathered on the enterprises' structure and demography, accounting data as well as prices, wages, employment, production and turnover. In addition to basic statistical data on the enterprises' structure and activities as well as economic trends and cycles, the Economy division macroeconomic analyses and syntheses (national accounts).
The National Accounts section (VGR) is mandated to compile a composite statistic known as the system of national accounts, the purpose of which is to give a macroeconomic representation of the economic activities taking place in Switzerland in a given year. The main aggregate and the best known of the national accounts is the gross domestic product (GDP). The tourism balance of payments, the tourism satellite account and the stock of non-financial capital, as well as a regional breakdown of GDP are also produced by the National Accounts section. Furthermore, the section works together with the Swiss National Bank for the compilation of financial accounts.
The reference manual for the national accounts is the European System Account which also provides the conceptual framework for a large part of the economic statistics system and defines notions such as the institutional unit, the production frontier, the resident population or employment. The national accounts system, therefore, provides conceptual support and ensures coherence.
The task of the Economic Structure and Analyses section (WSA) is to develop concepts and to define the frameworks necessary for the conduct of surveys and analyses in the following areas: Agriculture and Forestry (surveys and analyses), Business Structure (analyses), Growth and Dynamics of the Swiss Economy (analyses), Research and Development (surveys and analyses) as well as Information Society (surveys and analyses).
Furthermore the section produces two regularly updated indicator systems on "Science and Technology" and on "Information Society". By means of these two systems, trends in each respective area can be followed and international comparisons conducted.
Within the FSO, the WSA section supervises the various stages in the calculation of gross domestic product (GDP), and plays an active role in ensuring coherence between the different basic and composite statistics produced by the FSO.
The Prices section produces economic indicators on price trends and on the level of prices of goods and services in the Swiss economy. These indicators are used to compensate for inflation (in contracts, wages, alimony payments, rents, etc.), for decision-making at economic, social and monetary levels as well as for macroeconomic analyses. They also provide information for the general public on inflation in various sectors of the economy.
For temporal comparisons, prices are collected at different levels of the economic process, from production (producer price index, construction price index) and from wholesale and retail trade (import price index) to private consumption (consumer price index, harmonised consumer price index) and are usually presented in the form of index series and rates of change. For spatial comparisons, the section collects, as part of the EUROSTAT/OECD international comparison programme, data for the calculation of purchasing power parities (PPP). The real volume of gross domestic product and the price level of different countries are compared on the basis of these parities.
The Economic Surveys section (KE) carries out surveys on businesses and collects economic information on jobs, production, orders, turnover and construction activities. The section was created at the start of 2006 and consists of around 40 members of staff.
The results of the economic statistics provide decision-makers in politics and the economy with important information. Furthermore, the results are used by the national accounts and for the calculation of the gross domestic product (GDP).
The Wages and Working Conditions (LOHN) section is responsible for supplying reliable and objective statistical data on all monetary aspects of the Swiss labour market. Topics as diverse as wage levels (LSE), wage growth (SWI), labour costs (Ako) and pay structure components are covered, as well as income from employment or working conditions and wage agreements as defined in the collective agreements (CLA).
In order to accomplish its mission, the section uses several data sources which come either from direct surveys on businesses and households or from administrative sources. It even uses data obtained directly from payroll systems.
The section has been mandated to carry out the survey on continuing education and training (data production part) as well as the survey on collective labour disputes (strikes and lockouts) following the transfer of activities from SECO to the FSO. The portfolio of data thus produced provides an objective system of indicators on wages and working conditions that socio-economic actors can refer to for annual wage negotiations or in order to make a global evaluation of their wage policies across economic sectors. The wage levels calculated in this way are used to calculate disability pensions (AI) and to adapt AHV/AVS pensions (mixed index); they also serve as reference values for the work carried out by tripartite federal and cantonal commissions on the effects of the free movement of persons on the Swiss labour market.
The value added statistics are compiled on the basis of a sample survey carried out annually among enterprises in the secondary and tertiary sectors. Banks and insurance companies are not included in the survey. By means of accounting results, this statistic observes the structure and trends of business activities in the various sectors.
The results of the survey enable the calculation of key microeconomic aggregates at economic branch (NOGA) level, the estimate of macroeconomic aggregates (amounting to 70% of GDP) and the comparison of economic data that is relevant at national and international level.
The survey's universe is comprised of enterprises established in Switzerland. No regional ventilation is carried out. Since the reference year 2009, the results of the value added statistics have been published in accordance with the General Classification of Economic Activities (NOGA 2008). Due to various changes, the extrapolated results of 2009 cannot be compared with the 2008 results. For this reason it is not possible to produce time series prior to 2009.