Up to World War II Liechtenstein was a rather poor country predominantly based on agriculture. Unemployment was prevalent, consequently many Liechtensteiner 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 has mainly developed since the 1940s creating a successful and almost exclusively export-oriented industry sector. Nowadays (31.12.2020), there are about 40'300 workplaces devided percentage: Industry: 36.1%, Agriculture: 0.6% and Services: 63.2%.
While there was little employment until the 1940s there was full employment already around 1950 offering work to all the jobseekers. In order to secure economic growth Liechtenstein companies increasingly relied on manpower from abroad with heterogeneous educational background, a development resulting in a substantial immigration process. This is the reason for the higher number of foreign workers than Liechtenstein citizens since the 1960s. This immigration process led to fears of being swamped by foreigners in the Liechtenstein population. As of 1962 permanent residence was limited by law. Liechtenstein's economy however was not able to do without the foreign workforce, a situation that resulted in an increased importance of cross-border commuters; in 2020 the figure of cross-border commuters was 51 percent, most of them coming from Switzerland and Austria. Liechtenstein with a Gross Domestic Product of CHF 6.4 billion (2019) nowadays counts among the richest countries in the world (Office of Statistics).
- Biedermann Klaus, Büchel Donat, Burgmeier Markus (2012): „Wege in die Gegenwart“ (2012). Amtlicher Lehrmittelverlag Vaduz.