The success story of the Ruhr Metropolis continues apace: in 2018 there were more people in full-time employment than has been the case for decades. Some 1.75 million individuals were employed in jobs subject to social security contributions in the Ruhr Metropolis in 2018, the highest level since 1981. This meant that the economy in the region recorded strong growth in employment and turnover for the twelfth consecutive year. 

Compared to the previous year, the number of employees subject to social security contributions increased by over 39,000 people – a rise of 2.3 percent. The lead markets saw particularly good development. At 2.7 percent, employment growth was more dynamic than the previous year (+2.2 %), as well as lying above the state and national average (+2.6 % and 2.4 %). Particularly dynamic development was recorded by the lead markets Digital Communication (+6.5 %), Mobility (+4.6 %) and Education & Knowledge (3.4 %).

New business models and an increasing taste for start-ups are also evident in these and further lead markets. The number of companies here has grown considerably in some cases. The continuing positive economic development is also apparent in the turnover of the companies, which rose by over 10 % in total. 

The diversity of the Ruhr economy is continuing to expand, driven in part by the broad higher education landscape. The networks of founders and start-ups are now well established. One development here is especially exciting: many start-ups are established with close links to traditional small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Industrial Core lead market remains the backbone of the regional economy, with over 21,000 companies and a turnover of 73.7 billion euros. This increasingly highlights a unique selling point of the Ruhr Metropolis: in contrast to other start-up hotspots, which are focused on consumer business, the Ruhr has evolved into a centre of business-to-business operations.

Three examples for the new digital business models at these very interfaces are presented in this, the eighth business report. The independent team of authors has once again analysed the economic development with the proven and clear lead market approach, thus ensuring comparability.

Experience with the industrial scale and innovative ideas from a young, knowledge-based start-up scene: it is at these interfaces that Business Metropole Ruhr GmbH (BMR) works together with the business development bodies of the region to create space for new business models, thereby strengthening the competitiveness and innovative energy of the region.

Rasmus C. Beck, CEO (Chairman) of Business Metropole Ruhr GmbH.

To the Lead Markets


The development of lead markets in the Ruhr Metropolis

Economic growth in the Ruhr Metropolis continued into 2018. The number of registered employees increased by 2.3 % to 1,747,815 between 2017 and 2018. The positive dynamic in-creased again over the previous year (+ 1.9 % in 2017). This placed the economic growth rate in the Ruhr Metropolis above the federal trend for Germany (+2.2 %) compared to the previous year, while remaining similar to the state trend for North Rhine-Westphalia (+2.3 %).

The employment figures in particular reflected the higher growth rates in 2018. The eight lead markets in the Ruhr Metropolis especially benefited from this, as did the Industrial Core and Business Services. These central economic areas in the region saw an employment increase at 38,446 employees (+2.7 %) compared to the previous year. The Healthcare lead market proved once again to be a significant growth driver with 9,275 new employees (+2.8 %). Apart from that, Mobility (+7,700; +4.6 %) and Urban Construction & Housing (+5,835; 3.0 %) were at the forefront of employment growth. Including the Digital Communication (+3,383; 6.5 %) and Education & Knowledge (+2,762; +3.4 %), all four of these lead markets exceeded growth trends at both state and federal level by a visible margin. The Industrial Core and Business Services also showed moderate growth (+7,084; +2.2 %), remaining closely pegged to federal and state trends. Resource Efficiency (+935; 1.2 %), Sustainable Consumption (+880; 0.7 %) and Leisure & Events (+593; 0.7 %) were the only lead markets to remain be-hind the trend at state and federal level, albeit only slightly.

The sustained growth in almost all lead markets in the Ruhr Metropolis reflects the strengths and diversity of the region. Established economic areas such as the traditionally strong industrial base and the Resource Efficiency lead market still showed gentle growth while new business sectors such as the Healthcare, Urban Construction & Housing, Digital Communication, and Education & Knowledge and Mobility lead markets continued to gain importance.

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