Skiplink Navigation

Main Features

Moonlighting Swiss shadow economy wanes

Income like tips might not be reported.


Unreported employment accounts for 6.9% of the Swiss economy, making Switzerland a model student compared to other countries.

Economist Friedrich Schneider of the University of Linz, Austria, predicts that in 2015, the figure will drop to 6.5% of Switzerland’s gross domestic product (GDP). As recently as 2009, it amounted to 8.3%, according to Schneider’s calculations.

The shadow economy covers everything from unreported income like cleaning and childcare to illegal employment and criminal activities. Schneider estimates that the amount of under-the-table work in Switzerland amounts to 427,000 full-time jobs.

Of the OECD countries, only the US has a lower rate of unreported employment: 5.9% of its GDP. In Britain it’s about 10%, and in Germany, France and the Scandinavian countries, the rate ranges from 12-13%. In countries hit by economic crises, like Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, the shadow economy accounts for 18-22% of GDP.

The predictions for Switzerland do not account for the exchange rate fluctuations between the Swiss franc and the euro. and agencies