Recently released data points to an economy gaining traction this year, following a subdued performance in Q4 2017 due to a drop in output from the oil and gas sectors. Industrial production maintained a healthy pace of expansion in January–February, supported by a resilient electricity, gas and steam sector. Additionally, business sentiment in the manufacturing industry remained upbeat for the fifth consecutive quarter in Q1, signaling strong output and employment growth in the months ahead. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate dipped to an over three-year low in February. It has hovered at 4.0% in recent months which, coupled with low inflation, is boding well for consumers’ purchasing power. A tight labor market is also upping pressure on wages, as evidenced recently by private-sector unions brokering a tentative deal on 8 April for a 2.8% pay raise for 2018, up from 2.3% last year.

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Norway Economic Growth
Economic activity is expected to pick up this year, driven by healthy external conditions that should prompt higher demand for exports, particularly oil and gas. The mainland economy, however, could be weighed down by falling house prices and softening residential investment. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect total GDP to expand 2.0% in 2018, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast, and 2.0% again in 2019. Mainland GDP i