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Saxony-Anhalt’s economy over time

Following German reunification, Saxony-Anhalt's economy faced a new chapter in history. Under competitive conditions, both the management and the workforce of companies had to find their way in a global market. 20 years on, the outcome has turned out to be overwhelmingly positive, despite everything which still has to be accomplished. In this context, it should not be forgotten that German reunification in 1990 preceded the economic collapse of the GDR.

In Saxony-Anhalt, with its range of industrial collectives which were no longer competitive and the dominance of the chemicals industry and mechanical engineering, the failure of economic policy was felt particularly strongly. Saxony-Anhalt was therefore faced with the most difficult inheritance of all of the newly formed federal states and this inheritance continues to be a challenge today.

GDP two and a half times higher than in 1991

The growth in domestic industry during the past two decades can be best understood using the example of the development of gross domestic product. The so-called GDP, the value of all goods and services produced in Saxony-Anhalt, is almost two and a half times higher than it was in 1991 despite the clear downturn during the crisis year of 2009.

Major Increase in Labour Productivity

In recent years, labour productivity in Saxony-Anhalt has risen markedly. Every person in employment is now responsible for a GDP which is significantly higher than that in the period following reunification. In 1991, Saxony-Anhalt's labour productivity was approximately 40% of the German average; in 2008 it had already reached more than 85%. This development underlines the modernisation of our industry. It is particularly positive that growth in productivity has also been accompanied by a growing number of people in employment since 2005, with the exception of 2009; the year of the financial crisis.

Traditional sectors dominate the market

Even a good 20 years after the fall of the Berlin wall, Saxony-Anhalt's industry is dominated by traditional sectors. The largest proportion of industrial turnover is in the food industry. Halberstädter sausages, Hasseröder beer, Halloren Kugeln (a chocolate speciality) and Rotkäppchen Sekt (a type of sparkling German wine similar to champagne) are all premium products from Saxony-Anhalt which have occupied the shelves of retailers throughout Germany for a long time. The chemicals industry continues to play an important role and several billion Euros have been invested in their sites since the beginning of the 1990s. The results are impressive: today, Saxony-Anhalt is the most state-of-the-art location in Germany for the chemicals industry with sites in Bitterfeld, Leuna and Schkopau.

Even mechanical engineering, which defined whole regions before reunification, is back on the road to success after dramatic decreases in the number of workers employed and turnover in the 1990s. Furthermore, metal production and the processing and manufacturing of metal products are also of great significance to the area. In addition, new sectors have developed within a short space of time. We are one of the best locations worldwide for solar or wind energy.

Export: Top of internal European Market

After German reunification the markets of many companies in Saxony-Anhalt shifted westwards. The most important reasons for this were the collapse of markets in Eastern and Central European countries as well as the entry of Eastern German federal states into the European Union's economic area. In addition, the integration of many local companies into existing economic relations with Western German and Western European parent companies resulted in an increased focus on the internal European market. Further markets overseas, in both America and Asia, were also added to the picture. However, countries in Central and Eastern Europe continue to be some of the most important trading partners for companies in Saxony-Anhalt.

Eastern Germany’s Top Location for FDI

Saxony-Anhalt proves its position as top location for FDI with the study "Investment Location Eastern Germany from the Point of View of Foreign Investors", recently published by the PM&P Consulting Group. The study shows that within the last 20 years, Saxony-Anhalt received more than 300 FDIs. Investors from around the globe have poured almost EUR 9.5 billion into the state, creating or securing roughly 38,000 jobs - the USA, Japan, Great Britain, India and Switzerland being the most common countries of origin of FDIs. In 2011 a rise of 20% of the investment volume is expected.

Unemployment: marked decrease since 2006

The economic upheaval also had particularly negative consequences for the job market in Saxony-Anhalt. Despite a number of measures concerning labour market policy, the number of unemployed increased rapidly in the years following reunification. From 2006 onwards, as a result of particular economic conditions, unemployment decreased significantly. Currently, month after month unemployment rates are being recorded, which are the lowest since 1991. This is also proof that the local economy has grown stronger in recent years.

Significantly more in your pocket

The large increase in economic power can also be felt in the pockets of Saxony-Anhalt's citizens. The available income for consumer purposes and savings in private households has almost doubled in comparison to 1991. After a dramatic increase prior to 2000, the figure has since continued to rise gradually but consistently. Thanks to increasing economic power, available income will continue to rise. There is also further positive news in this context: according to a study carried out by the market research company GfK, this year purchasing power is expected to increase more in Saxony-Anhalt than it will in any other federal state.

Tourism: advertisement and economic factor

Tourism is becoming increasingly significant for Saxony-Anhalt's economy. The foundation for this was laid at the beginning of the 1990s, when numerous, often overdue investments, were made to improve the quantity and quality of tourist accommodation. The number of overnight stays in tourist accommodation has risen steadily, especially in recent years, and is an indicator of the attractiveness of the rich cultural heritage and the natural beauty of the federal state.

This is also the result of a targeted policy to promote tourism and of the consistent focus on tourist brands such as the "Romanesque Road". This advertisement for the federal state connects more than 70 stone survivors of the Romanesque period in Saxony-Anhalt and has developed into one of the ten most popular tourist routes in Germany. The "Garden Dreams", "Sky Paths" and the Elbe Cycle Path are also clearly great attractions for visitors.



10 Good reasons to choose Saxony-Anhalt


  1. Flexibility

    With fast approval and short project times, we make it easier for you to enter the market.

  2. Competence
    A highly motivated and qualified workforce guarantees you long-term success. 

  3. Investment Security
    Saxony-Anhalt’s political and legal stability makes it a reliable investment partner.

  4. Infrastructure
    Excellent transport and logistics infrastructure offers you rapid turnover.

  5. Investment Incentives
    A background of business incentives means noticeable reductions in investment and training costs.

  6. Productivity
    The moderate wage costs along with a stable and secure legal system ensure you have a significant competitive advantage. 

  7. Market Access
    Saxony-Anhalt’s central position in Europe guarantees the best access to the Eastern European economy as the EU expands eastwards.

  8. Quality and Innovation – “Made in Germany”

    The high-tech label receives much of its stimulus from Saxony-Anhalt.

  9. Dynamic economic area
    Saxony-Anhalt receives the most foreign investment in Eastern Germany.

  10. Free service
    IMG’s free, professional settlement support allows you to concentrate fully on core competencies.