The EU bioeconomy makes up an important part of the total economy in the EU. In 2014 it employed around 18.6 million people and generated approximately EUR 2.2 trillion. This means that the bioeconomy represents around 9 % of all sectors of the economy with regards to employment as well as to turnover.

Employment and turnover in the sectors of the bioeconomy in the EU-28



The number of people employed in the EU bioeconomy decreased by 2.2 million (- 10.5 %) between 2008 and 2014. The turnover increased by EUR 140 billion (+ 7 %), resulting in substantial gains in turnover per person employed.

Development of jobs and turnovers in the bioeconomy of EU-28

Jobs were lost mainly in the agricultural sector (- 1.2 million people), due to the ongoing restructuration of the European agricultural sector, but also in the sectors of manufacture of wood products and of wooden furniture, of bio-based textiles and of food, beverages and tobacco. Nevertheless, the agriculture and the manufacture of food, beverages and tobacco are the two main providers of bioeconomy jobs in Europe. Thus, agriculture is the main driver of employment trends in the European bioeconomy.

Employment growth between 2008 and the year of reference by bioeconomy sector

The overall number of jobs in all economic sectors in the EU-28 declined from 223 million to 218 million between 2008 and 2014. The share of jobs of the bioeconomy in the total employment in the Member States decreased from 9.3 % to 8.5 % (comparable data showing the development of turnover in all economic sectors of the EU-28 between 2008 and 2014 are not available).


The bioeconomy in the EU-28 has generated approximately EUR 2.2 trillion in 2014, constituting about 9 % of the turnover of the total economy according to a JRC study (Philippidis et al. 2016a). Between 2008 and 2014, the turnover of the EU bioeconomy grew by approximately EUR 140 billion, accounting for a 7 % rise.

Turnover growth between 2008 and the year of reference by bioeconomy sector

Turnover per person employed is highest in ‘innovative’ bio-based sectors that have seen much development and changes in recent years, and lowest in primary sectors.

Employment and turnover in the Member States

For employment, the location quotient is the indicator usually used to measure how ‘concentrated’ a sector is in a Member State compared to the EU, i.e. the share of Member State employment in the bioeconomy (or in a given sector of the bioeconomy) divided by the EU employment share in the bioeconomy (or in the same given sector). High to medium location quotients in Member States are usually driven by the high shares of agriculture in the national labour market. Member States with lower location quotients rely on more varied sectors, although some specific subsectors can show high location quotients.

Member States’ labour market specialisation in the bioeconomy

Distribution of the bioeconomy turnover across EU Member States

Share of people employed and turnover in the bioeconomy sectors of activity in the 28 EU Member States