Policy Article

German Jobs and Brexit: The Importance of Exports to the UK for Employment in the German States


  • Schrader
  • K.
  • Jessen-Thiesen
  • L.
Publication Date

The authors conclude from their analysis that the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement is in the interest of all German states. To varying degrees, the UK, the second largest economy in the EU to date, is one of the main trading partners of every German state. Before the Corona crisis, the share of exports to the UK averaged almost 7 percent over several years, with the Saarland's share peaking at 14 percent. The analysis reveals that a total of about 188,000 employees in Germany's manufacturing sector can be attributed directly to exports to the UK. In addition, employees in supplier industries are affected indirectly. A large proportion of these employees are in the large, industrially rich German states, but the relative weight of this employment is much higher in smaller states such as the Saarland or Bremen. At the industry level, there is a clear focus on the automotive industry and mechanical engineering, which account for almost 50 percent of industrial employees dependent on exports to the UK. For the individual German states it is crucial to what extent industries with intensive trade relations with the UK are represented.


Key Words

  • Brexit
  • employment
  • export
  • Federal States