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Employment boom in Germany's Northwest

July 12, 2011

Study completed with astonishing findings about recent developments

In Germany's Northwest, there has been a veritable boom in employment during the last 5 years – despite the crisis in 2008/2009. This is the finding of a study now presented by regio gmbh, the Institute for Regional Development and Information Systems in Oldenburg.

For instance, with a rise of 9 percent, the number of employees subject to social insurance contributions showed a greater increase in the region between 2005 and 2020 than the average in western Germany as a whole (5.7 percent). Particularly in several western parts of the Northwest region covering the District of Emsland, the District of Grafschaft Bentheim, large sections of East Frisia and the Oldenburg Münsterland area, rises in the double-digit range were recorded up to the level of just under 18%. A new West-East divide has therefore developed within the Northwest since many areas in the eastern part of the region are seen to be falling behind this special pattern of development. Especially in the cities of Bremen, Delmenhorst and Osnabrück, only a below-average rise in the number of employees could be recorded. The administrative district areas (Landkreise) were therefore shown to be markedly stronger in terms of growth than those areas covered by the self-governing cities (kreisfreie Städte) within the region.

Particularly surprising is that this positive development can hardly be attributed to an increase in marginal employment relationships (part-time work, temporary (subcontract) workers, and low-paid employment or so-called 400-Euro jobs). Although the level of these "atypical"-designated forms of employment is slightly higher in the Northwest than in Germany as a whole, "the boom in the Northwest is predominantly due to an increase in full-time jobs, even during the crisis phase," according to a conclusion from the study authored by the regional scientist and regio Managing Director Dr. Uwe Kröcher.

In the process, the energy industry and its renewable energies segment is a significant growth driver in the region – a region that will further gain in importance with the phasing out of nuclear energy and the transformation in energy policy. Also impacted by this development, however, are traditional sectors such as the construction and transport industries, whereby the latter was able to achieve above-average growth rates. Despite the low urban density, the business-oriented services in the region have also developed much more strongly than in western Germany as a whole, whereby it is above all the administrative districts (Landkreise) that have won out here. The crisis has evidently not had an adverse effect on the region. On the contrary: the crisis should be seen as a lever for a structural change that is leading to new patterns of growth in the region.

The study (in German) can be downloaded at: Beschäftigungsboom im Nordwesten – vor und während der Krise (PDF, 813 KB)


Uwe Kröcher, regio gmbh
+49 (0)441 798-2915