Three big economic success stories of the era up through 2007 were Spain, Ireland, and Finland. All three use the Euro as currency.
The Finnish economy was driven more by a single company (Nokia) than perhaps any other advanced economy in the world. Not too surprisingly, Nokia`s dominance of one of the world`s most competitive industries -- cellphones -- didn`t last. Competitors sprung up at the low end, while Apple`s introduction of the iPhone in June 2007 increasingly absorbed huge dollops of profit out of the high end. Finland`s economy recovered only moderately from the 2008 crash, and is in trouble again today
With Nokia`s rise during 1990s, Finland rapidly recovered from deep recession and become one of the foremost knowledge economies in the world, said a report published by ETLA in March.
During Nokia`s prime years 1998-2007, the company contributed a quarter of the growth of the Finnish economy. It created nearly a fifth of Finland`s exports and paid as much as 23% of all Finnish corporation tax revenue.
However, its descent since 2008 has devastated Finland`s economy. Nearly one-third of the over 8% drop in the Finnish GDP in 2009 was attributable to Nokia, and now the company`s share of contribution in Finland`s GDP has fallen to virtually zero, said the report.
It`s kind of like if your national economy were built around Blackberry.
All three countries were hammered hard in 2008 with unemployment hitting 8.7% in Finland by January 2010, versus 13.1% in Ireland and 19.2% in Spain. ( (All figures from a graph offered by Google from Eurostat data. Warning: unemployment can be defined differently in different countries.)
As of May 2013, unemployment in Finland was 8.4% and rising; in Ireland 13.6%; in Spain 26.9%. Each country`s situation is unique and complex, but it`s worth considering degree of enthusiasm for immigration during the 2000s bubble.
Back then, Spain was celebrated for its rapid influx of immigrants, as, to perhaps a lesser extent, was Ireland. Finland, although it has a gigantic border with a much poorer country, tended to lag the rest of Western Europe in immigration. It`s cold, dark in winter, far away, speaks an unusual language, has a militarized border, and enforces work permit laws efficiently.
This may have something to do with how much more stable Finland`s unemployment rate has been despite the decline of Nokia.