The labour market of North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany)

North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) is the most populous of all the federal states and has the strongest economy. The increasingly critical economic situation is already reflected in the labour market data. More job cuts are being announced, short-time working is on the rise and the demand for labour is falling. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate declined once again in November 2008, from 8.7% in the previous year to 8%. Employment in jobs entailing compulsory social insurance increased slightly.

Of the 18.028 million or so inhabitants, 1.914 million have foreign nationality. Most of these foreign nationals originate from Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, Italy and Greece.

Approximately 5.903 million people are in jobs liable for social insurance contributions. 712 570 people were out of work in November 2008. A quarter of the unemployed are aged over 50; 43.2% are long-term unemployed.

Most employees work in the service sector. NRW is an important industrial region and the number-one region for energy in Europe.

The principal segments in this sector are steel production, chemicals and mechanical engineering. The industries of the future are logistics, media and communications, life sciences and renewable energy.

Famous firms based here include Lanxess, Degussa, Henkel, Cognis, ThyssenKrupp, GEA Group, SMS Demag, Benteler, Hydro Aluminium, RWE, Eon, Ruhrgas and RAG. (c.f.


2 thoughts on “The labour market of North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany)

  1. I am also from this region, and know the situation there. It is definitely one of the most industrial rich regions offering a wide range of business opportunities on the job market. Lots of companies are situated in NRW, as you mentioned below, even most of them in Düsseldorf. Of course, affected by the economical crisis, solutions should be found to mantain their economic strength.
    The decline of some sectors and job losses, cause, in my opinion, social problems in the old heavy industrialized regions, even due to the high number of inhabitants with foreign nationalities.

  2. I think the actual financial crisis is the first time in which the social system of Germany proves itself. Although all people were angry about hight taxes etc. in good time, we can be happy to have a government which can offer such a high financial support. Thus, I think that Germany and therefore NRW neither will be faced as bad as other countries .


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