Basel-Stadt as a business location in times of the COVID-19 pandemic

Basel-Stadt as a business location in times of the COVID-19 pandemic (in German only)

Economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for Basel-Stadt

For an initial assessment of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Canton of Basel-Stadt, the AWA has compiled the report "Business Location Basel-Stadt during the COVID-19 Pandemic".

Several indicators suggest that the positive economic development of recent years has come to a sudden slowdown. Accordingly, economic analysis institute BAK Economics is projecting a 2.0% contraction for the region’s real GDP (compared with -5.8% for all of Switzerland) in its most recent economic forecast from July. Given that the pandemic’s further course is largely unknown, it should be noted that the projections are subject to significant uncertainty. As has been the case during past periods of crisis, the Life Sciences and their relatively large share of value added in the Canton of Basel-Stadt should have a stabilising effect.

The clearest signs of the slump emanate from the tourism sector of Basel-Stadt. From March to July 2020 the region registered approx. 77% fewer overnight visits compared to the same period a year ago. For the months ahead, only a slow recovery can be anticipated, despite re-opening measures being implemented. Interpersonal services and services with physical contact (e.g. physiotherapists, dentists) and other predominantly personal services (such as hair stylists, beauticians) along with the cultural, events and sports sectors, also are and will be struggling due to serious, in some cases severe revenue losses.

The labour market was impacted early on in the crisis. By the end of July,  94’150 employees from companies headquartered in Basel-Stadt had filed advance applications for short-time labour reimbursement, the unemployment rate of the Canton rose from 3.2% in February to 4.1% by  July. At the same time, the number of job vacancies reported to the regional employment centres of the Canton (RAV) has strongly declined from March to May. From June onwards, the number of job vacancies recovered and reached 1’600 by the end of July.

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Monthly development of job vacancies and unemployment rate in the Canton of Basel-Stadt
Last data point: July 2020

The speed of an eventual economic recovery is contingent on many factors and therefore cannot yet be adequately predicted. The swift implementation of aid and relief measures by the Canton and the Federal Government, however, should further accelerate a recovery. In addition, Basel-Stadt remains an attractive business location with a variety of economic location advantages and a business infrastructure able to buffer the worst impacts in times of crisis.


COVID-19 and regional economy: rocky road out of the crisis

The Arbeitgeberverband Basel (Employers Association Basel), the Gewerbeverband Basel-Stadt (Trade Association Basel-Stadt), the Handelskammer beider Basel (Chamber of Commerce and Industry of both Basel), the Economic Development of Basel-Stadt at AWA and the Economic Development of Basel-Landschaft carried out a joint survey regarding the handling of the lockdown among companies in the economic region of  Basel.
635 decision-makers across all business sectors and company sizes took part in the survey. The current atmosphere based on the feedback received shows that the impact of the coronavirus on the economy is immense.


Media release on the survey (in German only)
Mood barometer Special summer 2020, management summary (in German only)
Mood barometer Special summer 2020, short version (in German only)
Mood barometer Special summer 2020, full version (in German only)