Measured by gross domestic product (GDP), Poland is the world’s 21st largest economy and the sixth largest economy in the EU (2018). GDP growth was 5.1 percent in 2018. Since 2009, Poland has had the fastest growing economy of all EU countries. However, GDP per capita is lower than the average for EU countries. Of the EU countries, only three countries have a lower GDP per capita than Poland. It is Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria.
Unemployment was 1.6 percent in 2018. Poland’s strong economic growth and the fact that around 2.3 million Poles have taken up employment in other EU/EEA countries after Poland joined the EU and part of the EEA on 1 May 2004 has led to a labor shortage in Poland. This is why around 200,000 foreign nationals, mainly from other EU countries, Ukraine and Belarus, work in Poland (2018).
Primary industries contribute 2.4 percent of the country’s GDP (2017).
60 percent of the country’s land is cultivable, while the cultivated agricultural area makes up 46.9 percent of the country’s land. In total, there are 1,410,700 farms (2016). Wheat and barley are cultivated on the good soil in the south, on the sandy plains in central Poland rye and in the barren soil in the north oats. Potatoes and beet are grown in all areas.
Poland is a major producer and exporter of meat, wheat, apples and potatoes. The country is also a major producer of vegetables and sugar beets.
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Forest covers 29.6 percent of Poland’s land area (2017). The state owns 76.9 percent of the country’s forests. The largest forest areas are in the western and northeastern part of the country, as well as in the Carpathians and Sudets. Pine is the most common tree species. Every year, about 40 million cubic meters of wood pulp is added, which is slightly more than half of the annual growth. The forest has provided the basis for, among other things, the production of furniture for the home and export market.
Abbreviated as POL by abbreviationfinder.org, Poland has a fleet of 834 fishing vessels, mainly fishing in the Baltic Sea and the northern part of the Atlantic (2017). The total catch in these waters is 137 462 tonnes (2016). Most of the catch is delivered to ports in Poland. Alaska pollock and Atlantic herring are of the utmost importance. In the Baltic Sea, sprat, herring, cod, flounder, salmon and sea trout are fished.
Total fish farming in domestic lakes amounts to approximately 40,000 tonnes. There are a total of 300 plants for carp farming and 160 for trout.
Poland is the world’s ninth largest producer of coal. In Europe, only Russia and Germany have a larger production. Production is 129 million tonnes (2018). Polish authorities expect coal mining operations to continue for another 75 years. The country has limited production of copper, lead ore, sulfur, zinc and iron ore. Mineral deposits are mainly concentrated in the south. Poland has very limited deposits of petroleum and natural gas.
Electricity production is 156.9 billion kWh, while consumption is 149.4 billion kWh (2016). Electricity from fossil fuels account for 79 percent of electricity production, while two percent comes from hydropower and 19 percent from other renewable sources.
Coal dominates in the heavy industry and is also used as heating, both as direct fuel and indirectly through coal-fired district heating plants. In 2019, 50 percent of the crude oil the country imported came from Russia. Saudi Arabia was the second largest supplier of crude oil. Poland seeks to diversify gas imports to reduce dependence on Russian gas, which is delivered via pipelines through Belarus. An LNG plant in Świnoujście came into operation in 2015. Imports of LNG accounted for 23 percent of total gas imports in 2018, against 18 percent in 2017. Poland has large shale gas reserves, and drilling and other exploration work is underway. to start recovery as soon as it is economically and technically sound.
The industry contributes 40.2 percent of the country’s GDP (2017). Industrial production increased by 7.5 percent in 2017.
Under communism, priority was given to the heavy industry while neglecting consumer goods production. This has been rectified following the political changes in 1989/1990. Production of pig iron and steel is particularly linked to the øvreschlesiske coal field and the big Nowa Huta works at Cracow, landscaped in the 1950s. Łódź is a center for the textile industry. Machines, chemicals, motor vehicles and more are manufactured in Warsaw, Poznań and Wrocław. Of the new EU countries, only the Czech Republic and Slovakia which produces more cars and other motor vehicles than Poland. The largest shipyards are in Gdańsk – Gdynia and Szczecin. At P o ock there is the oil refinery and petrochemical industry. At Puławy northwest of Lublin there is a large fertilizer factory.
Service-providing industries contribute 57.4 percent of the country’s GDP (2017). Poland has the largest banking sector of the new EU countries in Central and Eastern Europe. 70 percent of the banks have foreign owners, mainly from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the USA. Outsourcing is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Polish economy.
The tourism industry has been growing rapidly since Poland joined the EU in 2004. In 2017, 18.3 million tourists visited Poland. This was an increase of 4.5 percent compared to 2017. The largest group of tourists comes from Germany, and Kraków is the country’s largest tourist city.
Transport and Communications
Since 2004, Poland has been supported by EU funds for the development of the road network. In 2013, it was 2 820 kilometers of motorway. In the period 2014-2023, another 2200 kilometers of motorway will be built. The railway network is best developed in the former German areas, and is star-shaped from Warsaw. The state-owned company Polskie Koleje Państwowe (PKP) has a total network of 23 429 kilometers.
Note: the capital city of Poland is Warsaw with a population of 1.7 million registered residents, about 1 million unbooked (2011 census). Other major cities include Kraków with a population of 760,000, Łódź with a population of 737,000, Wrocław with a population of 631,000, Poznań with a population of 552,000, Gdańsk with a population of 457,000 (2011 census).
There are 3997 kilometers of inland waterways used for traffic, with Oder in particular as a transport vein for mass products. The main ports are Gdańsk, Gdynia and Szczecin. There are the following ferry routes from and to Polish cities on the Baltic Sea: Gdynia – Karlskrona, Gdańsk – Nynäshamn, and Świnoujście – Ystad and Copenhagen. LOT Polish Airlines is the airline of the Polish state. There are 15 airports with commercial passenger traffic.
In 2017, total exports amounted to USD 224.6 billion, while imports were USD 223.8 billion. With this, Poland had a small surplus on the trade balance with foreign countries in 2017, as was the case in 2016. In 2017, the five most important export markets were Germany (27.4 percent), the UK (6.4 percent), the Czech Republic (6.4 percent).), France (5.6 percent) and Italy (4.9 percent). The five most important markets for Polish imports were Germany (27.9 per cent), China (8.0 percent), Russia (6.4 percent), the Netherlands (6.0 percent) and Italy (5.4 percent). Germany is thus Poland’s most important trading partner.
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Four of the five main groups of goods for both export and import are: various industrial goods, transport equipment, consumer goods and capital goods (except transport equipment), while food and fuel are one of the five most important main groups for export and import respectively.