EU Science Hub

Brief on jobs and growth of the EU bioeconomy 2008-2017


This brief on jobs and growth of the EU bioeconomy 2008-2017 is one of a series of Knowledge Centre for Bioeconomy briefs which aim to provide independent evidence for EU policy in this field. The following are the key messages:

1. In 2017, the bioeconomy generated 4.7% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the EU-27 and employed 8.9% of the labour force.

2. Concomitant growth in value added and reduction in number of people employed resulted in apparent labour productivity gains over the period 2009–2017. In 2017, the EU bioeconomy showed a steep rise in value added compared to the previous year. For the first time, during the 10 years monitored, an increase in the number of people employed has also been observed.

3. The employment in the primary production sectors decreased by around 4.2% in the second quarter of 2020, in comparison to the second quarter of 2019, while the total hours worked decreased by 5.6%. On the other hand, the gross value added of the primary production sectors increased by 0.1%. Yet, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the bioeconomy cannot be comprehensively quantified at this stage due to lack of complete official statistics.

4. Bioeconomy sectors with a high proportion of inputs have a greater impact on the turnover of the EU bioeconomy than on the value added. There are also significant differences in the average labour productivity, both by sector and by Member State.

5. Since 2008, the bioeconomies in the EU Member States have been following different trajectories in terms of jobs and growth. While the apparent labour productivity has increased in all, except in Greece, the productivity gap between distinct groups of Member States is widening. The specialisation of national labour markets towards the bioeconomy did not substantially change.