According to a UBS study, some cantons could suffer economic losses between three and four times higher than the least affected cantons.

Cantons with a strong involvement in the watch industry will suffer more than cantons involved in pharma.

All Swiss cantons are not equal when it comes to the coronavirus crisis, according to a study by UBS bank. The most exposed cantons could thus suffer economic losses of between 7.5% and 10% while they should be limited to 2.5% for others.

Strongly oriented towards watchmaking, the Jura region should therefore suffer more strongly than the canton of Basel-City, which is more oriented towards the pharmaceutical industry. In Zurich, the financial sector should also allow the canton to do better, say the authors of the study published on Monday.

To better estimate the extent of the economic losses, UBS economists have studied in detail the economic structure of each canton.

Economic sector and company size under the microscope

The greater or lesser exposure to one or another economic sector plays a role, but also the size of the companies active in the cantons. “The current recession is a small business crisis,” the authors point out.

According to a survey conducted by the bank, among companies with fewer than ten employees, one in five had to cease operations and among those with 10 to 49 employees, one in ten. By comparison, only 3% of large companies have had to close. In the cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden, Graubünden and Valais, the number of small businesses is particularly high.

UBS also analyzed the evolution of the economic situation during the first half of the year in all the cantons, based on indicators such as the unemployment rate, building permit applications and even business start-ups. Here the cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden, Uri and Obwalden showed strong resistance, while Ticino and Schaffhausen rather underperformed.

Longer recovery for mountain regions

The two cantons of the Basel region are best positioned to emerge from the crisis almost unscathed, followed by that of Zurich. Conversely, Graubünden, Valais, Ticino and Schaffhouse should pay the heaviest price, the recovery will indeed take longer.

However, it is still difficult to estimate the consequences of the pandemic in the long term, in particular concerning the competitiveness of the cantons. The growth prospects for each of the cantons are also difficult to predict, economists say.