In 2018, the gross domestic product (GDP) was €33.7b and accounted for 1.0% of Germany’s GDP (Eurostat, 2020). The GDP per inhabitant, in purchasing power standards (PPS), in 2018, was €45,400, significantly higher (+123%) than the average German GDP per inhabitant (Eurostat, 2020). Bremen was also hit hard by the economic and financial crises (GDP drop of 8.98% between 2008 and 2009) but figures also show that the economy recovered quickly (Eurostat, 2020).
In 2018, the region Bremen exported the equivalent of €20.2b representing 2.01% of the total exports in Germany (Statistisches Bundesamt, 2020). Globally, it ranks in the middle of the German regions in terms of percentage of total German exports but in comparison with its surface area and density, the region Bremen has the most important export ratio (Statistisches Bundesamt, 2020).
Unemployment rates have been reducing gradually over the last years (from 6.6% in 2014 to 5.1%, in 2019) (Eurostat, 2020) but is still above the national average (3.2% in 2019). The decrease between 2016 and 2017 was very significant (20%), but the unemployment rates was stable between 2017 and 2018 to increase between 2018 and 2019 (Eurostat, 2020).
The regional active population in 2019 amounted to 349000 persons, 0.8% of the national total (Eurostat, 2020). Most employees work in services (78.3%), whilst 21.7% work in the manufacturing and construction sectors (Germany average: service sector: 71.6%, manufacturing and construction sector: 27.2%) (Eurostat, 2020).
In 2017, Bremen has 26,465 companies. The region’s share of SME is also the lowest of Germany with 99.3% which represent 26,287 SMEs and so has the largest share of larger companies with 0.7% representing 178 larger companies (Statistisches Bundesamt, 2020). Many larger companies are implanted in Bremen regarding its surface area and population. Bremen is economically strong in the following fields: aerospace, maritime economy and logistics, automotive and wind energy.
Bremen is the eighth largest industrial hub in the country with main strengths in the fields of automotive (Daimler automotive plant), food industry (Kraft Foods, Brauerei Beck & Co.,s, Melitta-Kaffee and many new SMEs), aeronautics and aerospace (Airbus Group, Rheinmetall Defence, OHB) and electrical engineering (Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen, 2017). Due to the still very active ports of Bremen/Bremerhaven, the federal state is Germany’s second largest foreign trade hub right after Hamburg. Moreover, the maritime sector thanks to the ports accounts for more than 30% of the region’s economy (Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen, 2017).
The presence of a local aeronautics industry has helped the economy adapt to new industrial process and attract other elements of the value chain that today confirms Bremen as an attractive location for knowledge intensive services and-high tech industries.