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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Political and economic situation


1.Political, social and economic background and trends

1.4Political and economic situation

Last update: 2 April 2024

Up to World War II Liechtenstein was a rather poor country predominantly based on agriculture. Unemployment was prevalent, consequently many people from Liechtenstein left the country in order to work in seasonal employment abroad or they emigrated. Popular destinations of emigration were first of all the United States of America, Switzerland, and Austria. In the meantime the situation has changed into its opposite. Liechtenstein offers almost as many workplaces as there are inhabitants and is a magnetic regional pole of growth attracting the major part of the workforce from abroad.

Liechtenstein's economy developed significantly from the 1940s onwards. A successful and almost exclusively export-orientated industry emerged. While there was clearly too little labour until the 1940s, by 1950 there was already full employment, so that all jobseekers found work. In order to continue to grow, Liechtenstein companies were increasingly reliant on foreign labour with different educational backgrounds. The result was strong immigration. Since the 1960s, there have been more foreign workers in Liechtenstein than nationals. Immigration led to fears of foreign infiltration among the population. Settlement was restricted by law from 1962. As the economy could not and cannot do without foreign labour, the importance of cross-border commuters increased. According to the Office for Statistics, the number of commuters (mostly from Switzerland and Austria) was 56.8 per cent in 2022. A total of 42,514 employees were registered.

Liechtenstein is now one of the richest countries in the world with a gross domestic product of CHF 7 billion (Office for Statistics, 2022).


  • Biedermann Klaus, Büchel Donat, Burgmeier Markus (2012): „Wege in die Gegenwart“ (2012). Amtlicher Lehrmittelverlag Vaduz.