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Fact sheet: German industry

By international comparison in many regards the industrial nation of Germany scores record figures. The key data.

Deutsche Industrie Motorenfertigung
Deutsche Industrie Motorenfertigung © dpa - Deutsche Industrie

With 7.5 million employees, industry plays an outstanding role in the German economy. An additional 3.6 million people work at German industrial locations abroad. Of the roughly 250,000 firms active in manufacturing, some 90% are small and medium-sized firms with less than 250 employees.

Export ratio of 50 percent

In 2016, German industry generated 2.1 trillion Euros in turnover. Together with industry-related services, industry accounts for one third of Germany’s gross domestic product. A total of 15 million jobs depend directly or indirectly on industry, not least of all because of the high export ratio of 50%. In Germany, every fourth job is connected with exports, and in industry it is even every second job. Between January 2016 in January 2017 alone, the number of jobs in industry rose by 50,000.

Attractive industrial jobs

The outstanding position of German industry is also reflected in the wages and salaries paid. In 2016, the average gross annual income for those employed in manufacturing stood at 53,500 Euros. For the economy as a whole the average was 44,400 Euros. The strength is also evident in employer contributions to social security: most recently employers in the processing industry paid 67 billion Euros into the said scheme.

With a proportion of 86% of all private R&D expenditure, German industry also leads the way in this field. In 2015 alone, these investments resulted in around 62,000 patent applications.

Highest proportion of industry amongst G7 nations

Carmakers, mechanical engineering and the metal industry number amongst the industrial sectors generating the highest sales. They contribute decisively to Germany boasting the highest share of industry amongst G7 states, namely 23%. In fact, with just one percent of the world’s population Germany generates 8% of world exports – occupying third place behind China and the United States.

German industry is also incredibly strong compared to other European nations. It accounts for 30% of the industrial and product of the 28 EU member states. Almost as much as Italy, Great Britain and France together.

Day of German Industry: Is the industrial giant fit for the future?

Source: BDI