Disruption brings positive change
The federal state of Brandenburg has also adapted well to the structural changes of recent decades. At 5.4 percent, the unemployment rate in the state is at its lowest ever level, and GDP almost quadrupled from EUR 20 billion in 1992 to EUR 74 billion in 2018. Exports have also risen sharply. “All the economic data make it quite clear: Brandenburg has mastered a successful structural change,” says Dr. Steffen Kammradt, managing director of the Brandenburg Economic Development Corporation. Today, Brandenburg is one of the top locations for the aviation industry, and the automotive industry is also thriving in the state.
In eastern Germany, the industrial inheritance of the former GDR has been preserved in many instances and has served as a foundation for new developments. In Ludwigsfelde, Brandenburg, for example, the once state-owned Industrial Association for Vehicle Construction (IFA) company, which used to build trucks during the GDR era, remains operational to this day. Since 1994, the plant has belonged to Daimler and today employs 2,000 people who produce the Mercedes Sprinter model there. The city of Schwedt is another success story: It is home to the PCK oil refinery, which was also once state-owned and is now fully modernized. Today, it supplies oil to the Berlin and Brandenburg area.
The U.S. company Tesla, a heavyweight in the electric mobility sector, has also announced its intention to become active in Brandenburg: The electric car manufacturer’s first European factory is to be built near Berlin. “We will build batteries, drive trains and vehicles there,” explains Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
The positive developments triggered by structural change are evident throughout eastern Germany. Many international companies have settled there, including Pfizer Pharma, Goodyear Dunlop Tires, Ypsomed, GlobalFoundries, Greatview Aseptic Packaging, and Bell Equipment, along with many other small, medium-sized and large companies. According to fDi Markets, a total of 841 investment projects were established in the new federal states during the period 2014 to 2018.