In 2020, the bioeconomy accounted for 12 per cent of the total value added of the Finnish economy and 11 per cent of the number of people employed. The volume of value added decreased by four per cent and the number of people employed by two per cent from the previous year. The coronavirus pandemic made 2020 an exceptional year, which was reflected especially in bioeconomy services, with their increase slowing last year. This is shown by the bioeconomy review of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
The total value added of the bioeconomy was EUR 24.2 billion, and the output totalled EUR 68.3 billion. The bioeconomy output volume decreased by four per cent. The bioeconomy accounted for 16 per cent of the total output of the national economy. 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.
The forest sector the largest bioeconomy sector
The forest sector continues to be the most significant bioeconomy sector, even though its proportion from the total value added of the bioeconomy decreased by two percentage points. The forest sector accounted for 32 per cent, or EUR 7.7 billion, of the total value added of the bioeconomy. In the forest sector as a whole, the value added volume decreased by four per cent from the previous year. Of different forest sector industries, the value added volume only increased in the wood products industry.
Bioeconomy services crashed
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic was clearly reflected in bioeconomy services.
“In previous years, bioeconomy services have seen a clear increase, while the value added volume decreased by as much as 24 per cent last year,” says Tiina Sauvula-Seppälä from Luke.
The food sector in a stable situation, wood construction in a decrease
Alongside wood construction, the food sector is one of the largest bioeconomy sectors, both accounting for approximately 19 per cent of the total value added of the bioeconomy. The value added volume remained unchanged in the food sector, while it decreased by four per cent in wood construction. In the food sector, the value added volume only increased in agriculture, being five per cent.
The decrease in the number of people employed especially concerned bioeconomy services
Last year, sectors in the bioeconomy employed 294,400 people, corresponding to 11 per cent of the total labour force in Finland. In the bioeconomy, as in the national economy as a whole, the number of people employed decreased by two per cent from the previous year.
Agriculture remained the largest employer in the bioeconomy, with 63,600 people employed, even though the number of people employed decreased by 700 from the previous year. Compared with the previous year, the number of people employed increased in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, the generation of renewable energy, and water treatment and supply. These employed a total of 18,400 people.
In bioeconomy services, the number of people employed has previously increased throughout the ten-year monitoring period. In 2020, the number of people employed decreased, however, by 13 per cent from the year before. In the forest sector, the number of people employed decreased by three per cent from the previous 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.