Northern Germany's industrial healthcare industry on solid course

Life Science Nord cluster presents latest figures on "economic footprint" and current mood
27 October 2020
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The Life Science Nord cluster was "on a growth course" from 2016 to 2018 and is "a significant economic factor in northern Germany", according to Dr. Sandra Hofmann, Head of International Social Policy Research at WifOR GmbH. Her remarks came after the publication Friday (October 23, 2020) of the latest figures on the economic state of the industrial health care industry, employee numbers and exports in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, which WifOR had surveyed on behalf of the cluster. 

Solid growth - "highly attractive" sector

Direct gross added value grew by 3 per cent annually or to EUR 5.0 billion between 2016 and 2018. The number of employees increased by 4.8 per cent to 52,800 making the cluster highly attractive in the region where it secures "added value and jobs beyond the actual industry". The gross added value per inhabitant rose from EUR 979 in 2016 to EUR 1,062 in 2018 putting the Life Science Nord Cluster in third place after Baden-Württemberg and Hesse. Exports in the regional sector rose to EUR 6.6 billion euros, which corresponds to an average annual growth rate of 5.6 per cent. (The share of total exports comes to 5.1 per cent and reached 4.7 per cent in 2016.)

Cautiously optimistic about future 

Commenting on the mood in the sector, Dr. Hinrich Habeck, Managing Director of Life Science Nord, noted that although the impact of the corona pandemic cannot yet be gauged, a slight upward trend and cautiously optimistic expectations are noticeable. "The proportion of companies affected by a decline in turnover has decreased significantly from 50 per cent in the April 2020 survey. About one third of companies are even reporting an increase in turnover over 2019," he added. 

Michael Westhagemann, Senator for Economics and Innovation, said: "The liquidity of companies and securing jobs remains a top priority for us. Measures to strengthen the network within the clusters have proven helpful and have led to rapid success." A good example of this was the rapid placement of workers between the various sectors, some of which were affected by short-time work or shortages of skilled workers. "It makes more than sense to bundle  skills, to work closely together, to network and to drive forward important innovations," Westhagemann added.

Value chain health

The industrial health industry comprises key parts of the "health value chain" such as human pharmaceuticals, medical technology, personal, oral and dental care products, sports and fitness equipment, health-related information equipment, research and development and e-health. As such it forms the core of the Life Science Nord cluster. The WifOR institute had applied the "economic footprint" approach to Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein on a cross-state basis to highlight the close economic integration of the two states. The facts and figures in the latest study are based on the German Ministry of Economics and Energy's accounts of the health sector for Germany overall and the individual federal states.

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