After falling sharply in 2020, GDP is projected to increase by 3.7% in 2021 and 4.9% in 2022. Consumption will strengthen, with a gradual reduction in saving, as the sanitary situation improves and containment measures are phased out. Strong activity in the manufacturing sector and the absorption of EU funds will support investment and exports. Tourism and contact-intensive services will recover only gradually, until the pandemic is fully under control.
The pandemic highlighted gaps in the social safety net and risks aggravating the situation for disadvantaged students and vulnerable workers. Increasing the coverage of out-of-work benefits should become the top policy priority. Strengthening efforts to provide individualised support to students at risk remains crucial, as does upskilling of large parts of the workforce, especially with digital skills.
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2021 Structural Reform Priorities
The Portuguese economy continues to recover, with past structural reforms and more favourable global economic conditions contributing to the upswing. The economy has largely been sustained by strong export performance since 2010, but domestic demand is now also growing solidly. After receding in the five years following the crisis, employment has picked up and the unemployment rate has fallen from 17% to below 7%. Over the same period, the economy has notably increased its reliance on some renewable energy sources, such as wind power.