The proportion of the bioeconomy from the output of Finland’s national economy and value added has remained nearly unchanged during this decade. In 2018, the bioeconomy accounted for 17% of the total output and 12% of the value added of the national economy. The forest sector continued to be the footing of the bioeconomy, accounting for nearly 40% of the output and value added of the bioeconomy. The number of people employed in the bioeconomy increased for the first time in seven years.
The proportion of the bioeconomy from the total output and value added of the national economy has remained nearly unchanged over the past ten years. In 2018, the output of the bioeconomy was EUR 73 billion, comprising 17% of the total output of the national economy. Compared with the previous year, the output volume increased by 1%.
“In 2018, the total value added of bioeconomy sectors was EUR 25.2 billion, comprising 12% of the total value added of the national economy. In terms of fixed prices, the value added increased by 2% from the previous year”, says Tiina Sauvula-Seppälä from the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
The forest sector is still the most significant bioeconomy sector
The forest sector continues to be the most significant bioeconomy sector. In 2018, the forest sector accounted for 39% of the output of the bioeconomy. It was followed by the food sector (output of 22%). In terms of fixed prices, the output of the food sector was roughly 6% lower than the average of the previous five years. The boom in the construction sector increased the proportion of wood construction from the output of the bioeconomy to 16%. Other growing bioeconomy sectors were bioeconomy services and the production of renewable energy. Currently, these sectors only cover a small part of the total output of the bioeconomy.
Employment in the bioeconomy improved slightly
The decrease in employment in the bioeconomy, continued since 2011, came to a stop last year. The number of people employed in the bioeconomy increased by 0.5% from the year before. At the same time, however, the number of people employed in the national economy increased by roughly 3%. Last year, sectors in the bioeconomy employed 303,200 people in Finland, corresponding to 12% of the total labour force.
Agriculture remained the largest employer in the bioeconomy, with its 65,300 people employed, even though the number of people employed has decreased by 20,900 people from 2010. The forest sector employed 62,500 people, i.e. one-fifth of all people employed in the bioeconomy. Other important sectors in terms of employment were wood construction (64,400 people employed) and the food sector (38,800 people employed).
Can we reach the goals of the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy?
Even though employment in the bioeconomy stopped its decline last year, the number of people employed in the bioeconomy has decreased by 13,500 people from the start of the decade. The goal set in the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy is to create 100,000 new jobs in the bioeconomy by 2025. In the light of statistics, this goal may be difficult to reach. The second goal to increase the output of the bioeconomy to EUR 100 billion can be reached, if the output of bioeconomy grows on average by around 5% per year.
- Output at basic price consists of products produced during a calendar year. Output is itemised into three types: market output, output for own use and other non-market output. Non-market output is not taken into account in bioeconomy calculations.
- Value added (gross) refers to the total value generated by units engaged in a production activity. In market production, it is calculated by deducting from the unit’s output the intermediates (goods and services).
- Employed persons include in national accounts all persons drawing a salary and independent entrepreneurs who participate in production activities in the national economy. The statistics are more comprehensive than in labour surveys, because no age limits are defined for employed persons in national accounts, and men and women doing their national service, for example, are counted as employed persons.