Jobs and Turnover in the European Union Bioeconomy

The bioeconomy encompasses the production of renewable biological resources and the conversion of these resources and waste streams into value added products, such as food, feed, bio-based products and bioenergy.
EC definitionCOM(2012) 60

Since the launch of the European Commission strategy for the bioeconomy in 2012, the JRC is conducting economic studies to better report on and assess the European bioeconomy and to feed the European Bioeconomy Observatory.

Here after are presented estimates of jobs and turnover created in the different bieconomy sectors of activity and in the Member States of the European Union during the time period 2008 - 2014.

You can either browse the data by Country or by Sector.

This document was created by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission's science and knowledge service.

It aims to provide evidence-based scientific support to the European policy-making process. The scientific output expressed does not imply a policy position of the European Commission.

Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission is responsible for the use which might be made of this document and underlying data.


Agriculture and the manufacture of food, beverage and tobacco are the dominant sectors of the European bioeconomy. Nevertheless, the sectorial composition of the bioeconomy varies across Member States due to a number of reasons, among which Member States' endowment in biomass resources, their historical economic specialisation, past investments in R&D, etc.

Sectorial contribution to the European bioeconomy jobs and turnovers is presented in the following graph.

You can filter by Member States on the left-hand side panel. Be aware that when no selection is applied, the following figures display information for the European Union (i.e. the sum of its 28 Member States).


The bioeconomy sectors have developed differently across the European Union Member States. For instance:

  • Agriculture and agro-food dominant in Member States bioeconomies, especially in Eastern and Southern countries.
  • Forestry biomass, wood products and paper particularly developed in Northern European countries
  • Biochemistry and biopharmacy benefiting from long-standing experience and R&D investments in Western European countries

The geographical distribution of jobs and turnover generated by a given sector of the bioeconomy is illustrated in the following figures.

You can filter by Sector on the left-hand side panel. Be aware that when no selection is applied, the following figures display information for the Total Bioeconomy (i.e. the sum of bioeconomy sectors).

N.B. Each of the figures can be expanded in full screen mode.


Other information


The full methodology has been developed jointly by the Nova-Institute and the EC JRC Seville. It is described in the following scientific article:
Ronzon, T. et al. A systematic approach to understanding and quantifying the EU's bioeconomy. Bio-based and Applied Economics, [S.l.], Mar. 2017. ISSN 2280-6172.

Our estimates are based on the compilation of employment and turnover statistics in EU Member States (2008-2014) from the following datasets:

* Hybrid sectors: bio-based shares are applied toestimate the activity generated by the manufacture of biomass feedstock only

Employment and turnover data are reported by activity sector, following the NACE rev2 classification. For each of the NACE sectors contributing to the bioeconomy, bio-based shares have been applied in order to disentangle activities related to the manufacturing of biomass feedstock versus carbon fossil feedstock (e.g. the manufacturing of textiles is made of the manufacturing of bio-based fibres and synthetic fibres). Thus, in this study bio-based sectors refer to the manufacturing of biomass feedstock only.

Bio-based shares have been estimated at product level through expert interviews hold by the Nova-Institute. The match between this classification by products (Combined Nomenclature, used in the EUROSTAT – Comext database) and the classification by NACE sectors in the above-mentioned datasets was possible thanks to the use of CN8 – NACE rev.2 correspondence tables.

The resulting estimates have been compiled in a single dataset, called DataM – Bioeconomics.


Number of persons employed:
The number of persons employed is defined as the total number of persons who work in the observation unit (inclusive of working proprietors, partners working regularly in the unit and unpaid family workers working regularly in the unit), as well as persons who work outside the unit who belong to it and are paid by it (e.g. sales representatives, delivery personnel, repair and maintenance teams). It includes persons absent for a short period (e.g. sick leave, paid leave or special leave), and also those on strike, but not those absent for an indefinite period. It also includes part-time workers who are regarded as such under the laws of the country concerned and who are on the pay-roll, as well as seasonal workers, apprentices and home workers on the pay-roll.

Location quotient (LQ) = employment share in the bioeconomy of a Member State total divided by the employment share in the EU bioeconomy of the EU total
LQ is a way of quantifying how “concentrated” the bioeconomy is in a Member State compared to the European Union.

Turnover (Million euros):
Turnover comprises the totals invoiced by the observation unit during the reference period, and this corresponds to market sales of goods or services supplied to third parties.