17 Mar 2012

Those of us interested in EU GDP per capita figures for European regions (everyone, surely!) will be quite excited and perhaps intrigued by the new NUTS 2 level GDP figures released a few days ago. We covered this topic just over a year ago right here on this blog but these latest figures are the first to reflect the economic turmoil experienced in Europe from 2008 onwards. Some interesting numbers but perhaps no major surprises. Inner London still leads the way with a figure of 332 (where EU GDP = 100), followed by Luxembourg (266) and with Severozapaden in Bulgaria at the bottom of the list with a figure of 27.

There have been quite a few news articles about this in the past few days, often focusing on the fact that seven capital regions are in the top ten places for GDP per capita. However, there are some important disclaimers here, as noted on the Eurostat pages:

"It should be noted, however, that in some regions the GDP per capita figures can be significantly influenced by commuter flows. Net commuter inflows in these regions push up production to a level that could not be achieved by the resident active population on its own. The result is that GDP per capita appears to be overestimated in these regions and underestimated in regions with commuter outflows."

In total, there were 17 regions (out of 271) in the EU with GDP per capita figures of 150% or more, compared to the EU average, and 39 regions exceeding 125%...

"The leading regions in the ranking of regional GDP per capita in 2009 were Inner London in the United Kingdom (332% of the average), the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (266%), Bruxelles/Brussels in Belgium (223%), Hamburg in Germany (188%) and Bratislavsky kraj in Slovakia (178%). Among the 39 regions exceeding the 125% level, eight were in Germany, five in the Netherlands, four each in Italy and Austria, three each in Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom, two in Finland, one each in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, France, Slovakia and Sweden, as well as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg."

It will certainly be interesting to see how things develop further as more post-financial crisis data is released in future years.