This section introduces the main economic and financial structures of the euro area economy.
For details, see Chapter 2 of the book "The monetary policy of the ECB" (see link on the right-hand side).
Compared with its individual member countries, the euro area is a large and much more closed economy. In terms of its share of global GDP, it is the world’s third-largest economy, after the United States and China.
As in other highly developed economies, the service sector has the largest share of total output, followed by the industrial sector, while the share of agriculture, fishing and forestry is relatively small. The euro area is also one of the world’s largest economies in terms of population, with almost 340 million people.
|Key real economy characteristics of the euro area and other major economic areas in 2014|
Sources: For the euro area: ECB, Eurostat, national data and ECB calculations; for the Unites States, Japan and China: BIS, IMF, OECD, Reuters and national sources.
|Unit||Euro area( 9 )||United States||Japan||China|
|Population( 1 )||millions||339.4||319.2||127.1||1,360.7*)|
|GDP (share of world GDP in PPP)||%||12.2||16.1||4.4||16.3|
|GDP per capita ( 2 )||€ thousands||29.3*)||41.2*)||28.2*)||9.2*)|
|Value added by economic activity|
|Agriculture, fishing, forestry||% of total||1.6||1.2||1.2*)||10.0*)|
|Industry (including constructions)||% of total||24.5||18.4||24.5*)||43.9*)|
|Services (including non-market services)||% of total||73.8||80.4||74.3*)||46.1*)|
|Unemployment rate (share of the labour force)||%||11.6||6.2||3.6||4.1*)|
|Labour force participation rate ( 3 )||%||72.3||72.7||75.5||-|
|Employment rate( 4 )||%||63.9||68.1||72.8||-|
|General government( 5 )|
|Surplus (+) or deficit (-)||% of GDP||-2.4||-5.6*)||-8.5*)||-1.1|
|Gross debt ( 6 )||% of GDP||92.0||96.3||223.3||41.1|
|Revenue||% of GDP||46.5||33.1*)||33.9*)||28.5|
|of which direct taxes||% of GDP||12.5||12.6*)||8.7*)||5.0|
|of which indirect taxes||% of GDP||13.3||6.9*)||8.6*)||13.7|
|of which social contributions||% of GDP||15.5||6.6*)||13.0*)||-|
|Expenditure( 7 )||% of GDP||48.7||38.7*)||42.3*)||29.6|
|of which final consumption||% of GDP||21.1||15.2*)||20.6*)||-|
|of which social payments||% of GDP||24.0||14.3*)||22.8*)||-|
|External( 8 )|
|Exports of goods||% of GDP||19.4||9.5*)||15.2||22.5*)|
|Exports of goods and services||% of GDP||26.2||13.6*)||18.7||24.8*)|
|Import of goods||% of GDP||16.9||13.7*)||17.3||18.8*)|
|Import of goods and services||% of GDP||23.1||16.4*)||21.5||22.3*)|
|Exports (share of world exports, including intra-euro area trade)||%||24.8||8.8||3.8||12.7|
|Exports (share of world exports, excluding intra-euro area trade)||%||15.9||10.0||4.3||14.4|
|Current account balance||% of GDP||2.1||-2.4*)||0.5||1.9*)|