Growth, GDP per capita, Inflation, Unemployment, Wages, Trade, Investment

Annual GDP Growth
Around the time of the Soviet collapse, Baltic economies were in free-fall. In 1992, all three were registering breathtakingly dismal growth figures of between -15 to -30 percent. But thanks to impressive pro-reform policies, all three were seeing positive growth within just three years. The 1998 Russian crisis cut into the strong GDP rates, but by early 2000 Baltic growth was back in positive territory. As of 2003, the three countries were posting some of the highest growth figures in Europe. In the first quarter of 2003, Lithuanian officials said the economy expanded by a whopping 9 percent; Latvia and Estonia were anticipating 2003 growth to be around 5 percent.

Lithuanian GDP growth
2002 7 percent
2001 5 percent
2000 2 percent
1999 –4.1 percent
1998 5.1 percent
1997 7.3 percent
1996 4.7 percent
1995 3.3 percent
1994 –9.8 percent
1993 –16.2 percent
1992 –21.3 percent

Latvian GDP growth
2002 6 percent
2001 7 percent
2000 5.5 percent
1999 0.1 percent
1998 3.9 percent
1997 8.6 percent
1996 3.3 percent
1995 –0.8 percent
1994 0.6 percent
1993 –14.9 percent
1992 –34.9 percent

Estonian GDP growth
2002 5.5 percent
2001 5 percent
2000 6 percent
1999 –1 percent
1998 4.7 percent
1997 10.6 percent
1996 3.9 percent
1995 4.3 percent
1994 –2.0 percent
1993 –9.0 percent
1992 –14.2 percent

GDP per capita

Lithuanian GDP per capita (dollars)
2002 4,674
2001 4,396
2000 3,886
1999 2,884
1998 2,901
1997 2,588
1996 2,129
1995 1,623
1994 1,143
1993 716
1992 374

Latvian GDP per capita (dollars)
2002 3,496
2001 3,233
2000 3,032
1999 2,581
1998 2,485
1997 2,291
1996 2,099
1995 1,777
1994 1,440
1993 847
1992 576

Estonian GDP per capita (dollars)
2002 4,923
2001 4,050
2000 3,751
1999 3,532
1998 3,607
1997 3,187
1996 2,982
1995 2,405
1994 1,530
1993 1,084
1992 707

Annual Inflation Rates
In the early 1990s, while the Baltic states were still in the Soviet ruble zone, inflation soared to over 1000 percent. As they began introducing their own currencies in 1992-1993, inflation quickly fell to double and then single digits.

Lithuanian inflation
2002 -1 percent
2001 1 percent
2000 1 percent
1999 0.8 percent
1998 5.1 percent
1997 8.9 percent
1996 24.6 percent
1995 39.6 percent
1994 72.1 percent
1993 410.4 percent
1992 1,020.5 percent

Latvian inflation
2002 2 percent
2001 2 percent
2000 3 percent
1999 2.4 percent
1998 4.7 percent
1997 8.4 percent
1996 17.6 percent
1995 25.0 percent
1994 35.9 percent
1993 109.2 percent
1992 951.2 percent

Estonian inflation
2002 4 percent
2001 5 percent
2000 4 percent
1999 3.3 percent
1998 8.2 percent
1997 11.2 percent
1996 23.1 percent
1995 29.0 percent
1994 47.7 percent
1993 89.8 percent
1992 1,076 percent

Unemployment Rates
Jobs created by free-market reforms helped prevent rampant unemployment immediately following the restoration of Baltic independence. The more recent collapse of the Russian market prompted greater job losses, as industries exporting to Russia were forced to lay off workers. Unemployment has tended to be higher in the countryside than in the major Baltic cities.

Lithuanian unemployment

2002 11 percent
2001 12 percent
2000 12 percent
1999 10 percent
1998 7 percent
1997 6 percent
1996 7 percent

Latvian unemployment
2002 7 percent
2001 7 percent
2000 8 percent
1999 10 percent
1998 9 percent
1997 7 percent
1996 7 percent

Estonian unemployment

2002 11 percent
2001 12 percent
2000 12 percent
1999 5 percent
1998 2.5 percent
1997 2 percent
1996 2 percent

Average Monthly Wage

Average monthly are a little hard to gauge because there is so much variation depending on which sector you’re talking about. In some sectors, like banking, advertising or Internet technology, salaries are closer to Western levels. Manual laborers and any public service employees are paid much less on average than their counterparts in the West.

Lithuanian Average Monthly Wage
2001 270 dollars

Latvian Average Monthly Wage
2001 250 dollars

Estonian Average Monthly Wage
2001 330 dollars

Top Five Export Markets
Prior to 1991, over 90 percent of all Baltic trade went to Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union. Thanks to their pro-West, pro-reform policies that changed dramatically within years. Now, the vast majority of trade is with Western Europe. The 1998 crisis in Russia forced even more Baltic producers to find non-Russian markets.

Lithuania’s Top Five Export Markets (percent of total exports, 1999)
1. Germany 15.0 percent
2. Latvia 12.7 percent
3. Russia 6.8 percent
4. Denmark 6.3 percent
5. Belarus 5.9 percent

Latvia’s Top Five Export Markets (percent of total exports, 1999)
1. Germany 16.9 percent
2. Great Britain 16.4 percent
3. Sweden 10.7 percent
4. Lithuania 7.5 percent
5. Russia 6.6 percent

Estonia’s Top Five Export Markets
(percent of total exports, 1999)
1. Finland 19.4 percent
2. Sweden 18.8 percent
3. Russia 9.2 percent
4. Latvia 8.7 percent
5. Germany 7.5 percent

Top Five Investors
Lithuania’s Top Five Investors (1992-2002 cumulatively)
1. Sweden
2. Denmark
3. Estonia
4. Germany
5. United States

Latvia’s Top Five Investors (by country as of 1999)
1. Denmark
2. United States
3. Sweden
4. Germany
5. Russia

Estonia’s Top Five Investors (1992-2002 cumulatively)
1. Sweden
2. Finland
3. United States
4. The Netherlands
5. Norway

Sources: Mostly EBRD; Baltic statistics departments/surveys for unemployment rates, wages, investors, export markets.

Category Countries: Estonia, Countries: Latvia, Countries: Lithuania, World

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