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
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