Economic Development

After reunification Dresden was quick to grasp the opportunity to rebuild its economy, in a unique manner. Economic indicators show that the city is maintaining its growth curve despite the current economic and financial crisis.

A comparison between the Dresden Top 100 companies shows that between 2005 and 2012 the turnovers tripled and the number of jobs increased seven-fold. In 2013 49 companies extended and secured local jobs. In additition, 13 new companies set up in business, which means 136 new jobs in Dresden.   

Gross domestic product (GDP)

Since the mid-1990s Dresden's economic power has grown significantly: compared with 1995 the gross domestic product (GDP) has risen more than 50 percent.

Today, Dresden brings in roughly a sixth of Saxony's GDP and is the economically strongest city not only in the state but also in east Germany. Though the economy has not yet been fully restored since reunification, and though top economic metropolises such as Munich, Frankfurt or Hamburg achieve a higher GDP for structural reasons, Dresden is on the same level as west German cities. The gross domestic product per inhabitant corresponds with the German average.


Since the year 2000, the number of businesses in the city of Dresden has risen constantly. In 2012, 49,183 people were registered as running a business. This is a growth of 29 percent. One reason for this is the continuing trend towards start-ups. In 2013, 5,433 new businesses were registered.

Dresden's economy is characterized by a traditionally wide variety of sectors. The city has a well-developed industrial sector while at the same time being an important center for the service industry and administration.

Medium-sized companies play a formative role, with 99 percent of all companies falling into that category. This distribution is reflected in every economic sector. Only three percent of companies employ more than 250 people, although those nonetheless make up almost one third of Dresden's entire workforce.

Productivity, Education and Labor Costs

Local productivity has grown almost as dynamically as the GDP. GDP per working hour and worker has risen almost 26 percent since 2000 to reach a level of 33.26 euros (2010).

Thanks to its internationally successful education system, the city has a big pool of extremely well-trained, motivated workers. There are an unusually high number of specialists in scientifically and technically demanding work.

45.5 percent work in a scientific/technical occupation or have a degree in a subject of this kind. By European comparison the Saxon capital is thus above the average for the major industrial nations such as Germany, France and Britain.

Nonetheless, labor costs are still below the level of west German cities. The average gross wage per working hour is roughly 18 euros (2010).


Employment in Dresden has undergone very positive development. In 2012 233,540 workers were liable to pay social security. After a gradual drop in the employment figures at the start of the millennium, from 2005 the trend reversed, and this has continued until today.

This has an effect on the unemployment rate: after rising by 15 percent between 2000 and 2005, it then dropped six percentage points to a level of 8.8 percent (2013). 

Its many attractive companies and institutions make Dresden a magnet for workers from the surrounding areas. Roughly 40 percent of workers liable for social security payments live outside Dresden; the commuting balance is positive.

Purchasing Power

Along with the employment figures and GDP, purchasing power has also risen lastingly.

Private households in Dresden had 18,588 euros per inhabitant in 2013. Ten years ago the figure was about 12 percent lower. The purchasing power index (Germany = 100) is 90.1.

Excellence is the city‘s motto

Dresden’s success is based on key technologies including microelectronics, information-and-communications, new materials, photovoltaic and nanotechnology, and, life sciences and biotechnology. The interdisciplinary collaboration between businesses and research facilities helps move Dresden forward.