Brno, Czech Republic – According to a study, published a few days after official projections lent weight to the idea that the Czech economy was slowing down, Czechs remain highly optimistic about the state of the economy and future growth.
According to the survey, conducted by the CVVM polling agency, 78% of Czechs see in a positive way the current economic level, while only 20% see it in a negative way. These results have been improving over the last few years, and is the highest rate of positive outlook on the economy since 1997 (when CVVM started conducting this poll on a regular basis). In the previous survey carried out in January 2017, 71% of Czechs had a positive stance regarding the current economic level.
Despite a slight increase at the end of last year, the Czech Republic boasts the lowest unemployment rate in the EU and also has the highest job vacancy rate in Europe, as companies struggle to find candidates to fill open positions. But although the economy has been expanding at a steady pace in recent years, economic growth is expected to slow down in the following years: in 2018, the Czech Republic had the lowest growth rate among the Visegrad Group countries (3%, down from 4.5% the previous year), compared to 5.1% in Poland, 4.9% in Hungary and 4.1% in Slovakia.
According to the OECD Economic Outlook, the Czech Republic will grow at a rate of 2.7% in 2019 and 2.6% the following year, the lowest growth rate in Central Europe.
In the survey (in Czech language), Czechs were also asked to compare the state of their economy with nine other European countries (Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Austria, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Slovenia). And according to the findings of the survey, Czechs themselves only believe the situation in Germany (94% of positive opinions) and Austria (92%) – where many Czechs have emigrated in the past several years – is better than at home. Only 4% of surveyed Czechs viewed the economic situation in Germany and Austria negatively.
Czechs therefore thought more highly of their economy than neighboring Slovakia‘s (66% of positive ratings) – ranked as the fastest-growing developed economy in the world, according to OECD 2019 and 2020 forecasts – and were also more critical of the situation in Poland (62% of positive ratings), Hungary (57%) and Slovenia (52%).
Negative opinions about the economy prevailed in the cases of Russia (45% of positive opinions), Bulgaria (25%) and Romania (only 13% of positive opinions).