Norway’s year-over-year GDP growth
as of second-quarter 2018
Norway’s unemployment rate
as of July 2018
Norway’s annual inflation rate
as of August 2018
Victor Whitman is chief reporter at Scotsman Guide Media.
Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Norway’s long, storied history is probably most notable for the Viking Age that saw
Norwegian sea raiders attack and colonize Britain and northern Europe for centuries.
In modern times, this Nordic nation on the Scandinavian Peninsula has become a
model of economic stability, peace and prosperity.
A parliamentary constitutional monarchy bordered by Sweden, Norway has been
called the most socialist of European countries, providing free or low-cost universal
health care, guaranteed pensions and a strong social safety net.
Norway’s roughly 5. 3 million citizens are among the highest taxed in Europe, but also
maintain one of the highest standards of living. Norway ranked No. 1 out of 189 countries
on a quality-of-life index published for the United Nations Development Programme.
The index factors in variables such as life expectancy, educational attainment and per
capita income. Although Norway does not have a minimum wage, most industries are
unionized, and Norway’s workers enjoy some of the highest wages in Europe.
Norway also is one of only two Nordic countries (the other being Iceland) that are not
members of the European Union, according to the CIA World Factbook. During a meeting
in Washington in January, Prime Minister Erna Solberg expressed her unease at Russia’s
suspected meddling in the U.S. presidential election, and called her country the NATO
alliance’s “eyes and ears” on Russia’s northern border, according to the Washington Post.
Solberg, an advocate for renewable-energy initiatives in Norway, also criticized the Trump
administration’s decision to leave the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
The Norwegian government maintains a significant ownership stake in key industries,
including the national bank DNB (Den Norske Bank); and Norway’s largest company,
Equinor (the former Statoil), an oil and energy company.
Norway’s economy is dependent on oil and gas exports. The nation began to widely
tap reserves along the Norwegian continental shelf in the early 1980s. Although a
relatively small world player in crude-oil exports, Norway is the world’s third-largest
exporter of natural gas, according to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.
Oil and natural gas exports last year were valued at roughly $442 billion Norwegian
Krone (roughly $52.4 billion in U.S. dollars), according to the Norwegian Petroleum
Directorate. This accounted for roughly half the value of all the nation’s exports.
Consensus forecasts estimate that Norway’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth
will average 2.1 percent in 2018 and 2 percent in 2019, according to DNB Markets.
Norway’s unemployment rate peaked in 2016 at just over 5 percent, according to
Statistics Norway. The unemployment rate is expected to average 3. 9 percent in 2018.
Norway’s housing market slowed considerably in 2017 after an eight-year boom that
culminated in a 10 percent spike in home prices in 2016, according to the Global
Property Guide. Last year, Norway tightened restrictions on household debt loads,
a move that restricted access to mortgages and drove down home prices in Norway’s
capital and most populous city, Oslo, according to Fitch Ratings. n
By Victor Whitman