Facts & figures

North Rhine-Westphalia is Germany’s top industrial region. This page presents the key facts and figures about North Rhine-Westphalia’s industrial sector.


Jobs in the non-metallic minerals processing industry

In 2020, 9,309 workers were employed in North Rhine-Westphalia’s mining industry and the extraction of non-metallic minerals.

(Source: IT.NRW)



Jobs in the chemical industry

North Rhine-Westphalia’s chemical industry employed 97,080 people in 2020.

(Source: IT.NRW)



More than 10,500 industrial enterprises in North Rhine-Westphalia

In 2020, North Rhine-Westphalia was home to 10,559 industrial enterprises. They include the sectors of engineering, the chemical, metal, food and feed industries, as well as motor vehicles and their components, metal products, electrical equipment, rubber and plastic goods, glass, glassware, ceramics and the paper industry.

(Source: IT.NRW)



Industry in NRW employs more than 1.2 million people

Approximately 1,230,000 men and women worked in the manufacturing sector in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2020 – that’s just under a sixth of all employees subject to mandatory social insurance contributions in our federal state. This makes industry the largest employer in North Rhine-Westphalia.

(Source: IT.NRW)



Energy-intensive industry consists of five sectors

A large share of the CO2 emissions produced by industry can be attributed to energy-intensive sectors. In addition to the chemical industry, these include the paper and glass industries as well as the segments of non-metallic minerals, steel and non-ferrous metals.

(Source: MWIDE)



More than 20 million tonnes of­ CO2 avoided by recycling steel

More than 20 million tonnes of CO2 are avoided each year in Germany by recycling steel. That is equivalent to the total annual CO2 emissions in Berlin.

(Source: The German Steel Federation)


per cent of the blast furnace slag generated in the production of pig iron and steel is processed into high-quality products

95 per cent of the blast furnace slag that is generated in the production of pig iron and steel is processed by means of complex manufacturing techniques into quality products such as cement, concrete, asphalt and fertilisers.

(Source: FEHS – Building Materials Institute)


new jobs in NRW thanks to hydrogen

Up to 130,000 new jobs could be created in NRW by 2030 through the use of hydrogen.

(Quelle: NRW hydrogen study)



Hydrogen demand expected to reach more than 800 terrawatt-hours in 2050

Hydrogen demand in Germany could amount to 800 terawatt-hours or more in 2050 according to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems. This corresponds to far more than the total power consumption of all German households. Besides the need to adapt the industrial sector in light of climate change, we will also see increasing demand for hydrogen in everyday life, e.g. in the area of traffic and mobility.

(Source: Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems)



Fields for action in the industrial sector

North Rhine-Westphalia’s climate protection plan outlines four fields of action in which production enterprises in trade/industry can achieve their climate protection targets: increasing energy and resource efficiency, switching to new energy sources, reducing process-related emissions and designing their product portfolios to reduce their environmental impact.

(Source: NRW climate protection plan)



Jobs in the metal industry

The metal and metal products industries in North Rhine-Westphalia recorded a combined total of 279,227 jobs in 2020.

(Source: Calculation based on figures from IT.NRW)



Jobs in the glass industry

A total of 33,289 jobs were attributed to the glass, glassware and ceramics industries in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2020.

(Source: IT.NRW)



Jobs in the paper industry

The paper industry in North Rhine-Westphalia employed 27,234 people in 2020.

(Source: IT.NRW)



Almost 50% of the steel industry’s electricity needs covered sustainably

The steel industry covers almost half of its entire electricity needs sustainably using power produced within the sector.

(Source: The German Steel Federation)


million tonnes of­ CO2 avoided by using granulated blast furnace slag as a component of cement

In Germany alone, between 1949 and 2018, it was possible to avoid 203 million tonnes of CO2 by using granulated blast furnace slag as a component of cement – that is more than the amount of CO2 emitted annually by the ten coal-fired power plants with the highest emissions in Germany.

(Source: FEHS – Building Materials Institute)


NRW’s industrial sector cut­ CO2e* emissions by 40 million tons

The industrial sector in North Rhine-Westphalia has already decreased its annual CO2e emissions by around 40 million tons – from 94.3 million tons in 1990 to 54.7 million tons in 2017. This corresponds to a reduction of more than 42 per cent.

(Source: Greenhouse Gas Inventory, LANUV)
*CO2e equivalents (CO2e) are a unit of measurement to unificate the climate impacts of the different kinds of greenhouse gas



Jobs in energy-intensive industries

Energy-intensive industries in North Rhine-Westphalia employed 446,139 people in 2020.

(Source: Calculation based on figures from IT.NRW)


Fields of action of the energy industry

North Rhine-Westphalia’s climate protection plan defines eight fields of action in which the energy industry can achieve its climate protection targets: developing renewable energies, expanding and consolidating district and local heating systems as well as building supply on a coordinated basis, expanding industrial and cooperative combined heat and power, modernising power plants, establishing system requirements (storage systems and grids), security of supply, enabling system services and grid and storage management via virtual power plants, research and development in the field of climate protection and virtual capacity to meet base load requirements.

(Source: NRW climate protection plan)



jobs in further areas are secured by every job in the energy-intensive raw materials production

Every job in the energy-intensive raw materials production sector secures around two further jobs in other branches of industry and in the service sector, since it supplies crucial basic material for the subsequent stages of the value chain.

(Source: NRW energy supply strategy)