Economic development and employment

Roughly 43 % of the labour force is employed in public and private administration and service. Manufacturing employs 21 %, trade and tourism 15 %, transportation 8 %, construction 5 % and, last but not least, agriculture and fishing with roughly 1 % of the labour force.

The major portion of manufacturing in Aust-Agder is related to the production of fabricated metal products. Production of wooden material for construction or furniture is also substantial. The machinery and equipment sector produces primarily for offshore and shipping industries. Production of leisure boats, both wooden and synthetic, has long been a cornerstone industry in Aust-Agder. The majority of leisure boats produced in Norway come from Aust-Agder.

The electronic industry is also a major factor in the economic situation in Aust-Agder, not necessarily in numbers of people employed, but in the creation of a high-tech environment of international format.

Tourism plays a major role in Aust-Agder. As mentioned earlier, the attractive environment of the coastal and mountain areas provide a unique venue for year-round sport and recreation. Hovden, in the valley of Setesdal, offers board and lodging, ranging from luxury hotels to moderate cottages or chalets.
Agriculture in Aust-Agder combines both farming and forestry, with the first being predominant. The county is one of Norway´s leading producers of lumber, and wood-processing for construction is growing steadily. Vegetable and fruit production is important, especially in the coastal area.
The county administration in Aust-Agder is eager to provide assistance to industries or enterprises in need of information concerning site locations, labour force, investment and credit possibilities.