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Harju County's contribution to Estonia's GDP declines slightly

Tallinn.
Tallinn. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

60 percent of Estonia's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022 was generated by Harju County. At the same time, the Harju County's overall dominance has been steadily declining over a five-year period.

Last year, Harju County contributed €22 billion of Estonia's total €36 billion GDP. €17 billion came from Tallinn alone.

Harju County was once again followed by Tartu County and Ida-Viru County, which contributed 12 percent and 7 percent of Estonia's annual GDP respectively.

Hiiu County, Lääne County and Põlva County continue to have the smallest shares, each accounting for less than one percent of the total GDP.

GDP per capita in 2022 was €26,698. This was €2,377 more than the year before. GDP per capita remained highest in Harju County, at 130 percent of the Estonian national average.

The closest to the Estonian average was in Tartu County, where GDP per capita was at 98 percent of the Estonian average. This was followed by Järva and Ida-Viru counties (76 percent and 74 percent of the Estonian average, respectively). Järva County's performance is mainly a result of its strong agricultural sector, while Ida-Viru County is driven by manufacturing and energy production.

GDP per capita was lowest in Põlva County (54 percent), followed by Valga County (57 percent), Lääne County (59 percent) and Rapla County (60 percent).

Over the last decade, Jõgeva County, Rapla County, Tartu County and Viljandi County have been the fastest to move closer to the Estonian average. Meanwhile, Saaremaa, Lääne-Viru County, Lääne County and Pärnu County have moved furthest away from the Estonian average over the same period.

Although the gap between Harju County and the Estonian average has narrowed by only around 2 percent since 2021, the change over a ten-year period is even more noticeable. The gap between Harju County and the Estonian average has narrowed by 17 percent in that time.

Accounting for inflation, total chained GDP (real GDP is calculated net of price effects) per capita fell by 1.4 percent in 2022. GDP per capita in real terms increased in Hiiu County (0.3 percent), Jõgeva County (0.2 percent), Võru County (0.1 percent), Põlva County (0.1 percent) and Ida-Viru County (0.1 percent).

GDP per capita fell in all the other counties.

The largest decreases in GDP per capita were recorded in Harju County (2.8 percent) and Tartu County (2.3 percent), driven by the performance of the regions surrounding Tallinn and Tartu.

Last year, 70 percent of total value added was created in the service sector. While this overall figure has remained at the same level since 2019, the downward trend affecting most regions has now been reversed. The previous period's performance was mainly due to an increase in agriculture and a slight rise in the share of contributions from industry and construction.

The contribution of the services sector remained largest in Tallinn and Tartu in 2022 (82 percent and 79 percent respectively). In Tallinn, this was most influenced by trade, information and communication, real estate, and professional, scientific and technical activities. In Tartu, this was down to education, trade, health and real estate.

In most Estonian counties, services are the leading form of economic activity, meaning that more than half of the region's value added is generated through services. The share of services was lowest in Järva County (47 percent) and Ida-Viru County (45 percent).

The industry and construction sector accounted for 27 percent of the total value added. Although the share of this sector increased slightly in 2022, it has been declining steadily over the years, mainly due to the growth of services.

Thanks to the energy sector, Ida-Viru County continues to be the region where the largest share of value added comes from its industry and construction sector (54 percent). Due to high levels of manufacturing, Võru County (41 percent), Rapla County (39 percent) and Viljandi County (38 percent) follow. The region around the City of Tartu also has a high proportion of industrial activity, at 41 percent.

The counties with the lowest proportions of industrial and construction activity are Harju County (21 percent), Tartu County (26 percent) and Põlva County (28 percent). In Harju and Tartu counties this is due to the high proportion of services and low share of industrial and construction activity in their main cities - Tallinn and Tartu respectively. However, in Põlva County it is more a result of the importance of agriculture.

Agriculture accounted for nearly three percent of value added. Although this has been steadily decreasing over the years, the proportion of the contribution made by the agricultural sector increased significantly in most Estonian counties in 2022. The counties where agriculture accounted for the largest shares of the total were Jõgeva, Põlva and Järva counties, at 16 percent, 15 percent and 15 percent respectively.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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