Between 1981 and 2010, St. Gallen saw an average of 141 days of rain or snow each year, with 1,248 millimetres (49.1 in) of precipitation. The wettest month was July, with an average of 172 millimetres (6.8 in) of rain falling in St. Gallen. Precipitation fell on an average of 13.8 days this month. The months with the greatest precipitation days were June and July May. February was the driest month of the year, with an average of 57 millimetres (2.2 in) of precipitation over 9.1 days.
St. Gallen is located in northern Switzerland in a valley 700 meters (2,300 feet) above sea level. Because it is one of the highest towns in Switzerland, it gets a lot of snow in the winter. The city is located between Lake Constance and the Appenzell Alps (the highest summit being the Säntis at 2,502 meters (8,209 ft)). As a result, it has good recreational opportunities nearby.
All buildings on the valley level must be erected on piles since the city center is located on an unstable grass ground (its creator Gallus was seeking for a place for a hermitage, not a city). The whole foundation of the railway station and plaza, for example, is built on hundreds of piles.
St. Gallen has a total area of 39.3 km2 as of 2006. (15.2 sq mi). 31.1 percent of this land is used for agriculture, while 28.9 percent is forested. The majority of the land is settled (buildings or roads) and the remaining (1.7 percent) is non-productive (rivers or lakes).
St. Gallen had a 2.69 percent unemployment rate in 2007. In 2005, there were 336 individuals working in the main economic sector, and around 95 enterprises were active in this area. In the secondary sector, 11,227 people are employed, and 707 firms operate. The tertiary sector employs 48,729 people and is home to 4,035 businesses.
The average unemployment rate in October 2009 was 4.5 percent. In the municipality, there were 4857 businesses, 689 of which were in the secondary sector of the economy and 4102 in the third. In 2000, there were 28,399 inhabitants who worked in the municipality, 8,927 who worked outside of St. Gallen, and 31,543 who commuted into the municipality.
Helvetia Insurance is a large corporation based in St. Gallen.