The voivodeship belongs to a group of averagely developed regions. In 2012, GDP per inhabitant was 92.8% of the national average.
As Marek Kudła from the Marshal Office in Łódź informs, in 2013 the Łódź voivodeship registered an increase in GDP, which amounted to almost PLN 100 billion, an equivalent of approximately 6.1% of the GDP of Poland. By the end of 2014, the GDP of the Łódź voivodeship will probably increase by another 2.5-3%.
The sectors which contribute most to the creation of GDP are services, industry and agriculture. In August 2014, there were 238,800 big, medium and small enterprises and micro-businesses operating in all these sectors. Over 97% of them are private companies. The number of commercial companies with foreign capital is about 1,800. The list of 500 biggest enterprises in Poland published in 2014 included 18 companies from the Łódź voivodeship. Almost one third of all the enterprises operating here deal with trade, about 16% of them are industrial companies and another 10% provide real estate services. These three groups include more than half of the businesses registered in the region. The next branches present here are: construction and transportation, textile, clothing and knitting, food, furniture, metal, tanning, pharmaceutical industries and building ceramics.
One of the strong points of the voivodeship is its very advantageous central location. The crossing of the motorways A1 and A2 situated in the region makes Łódź one of the better connected agglomerations. The rail transport in the voivodeship will be improved by the modernization and revitalization of the railway lines and the completion of the modern multimodal railway station – Łódź Fabryczna. The investment is planned to be completed in 2015 and its gross cost is estimated for PLN 1.75 billion, PLN 400 million of which is to be spent on its urban part, for which Łódź is to receive a EU subsidy of PLN 260 million. The plans include building a railway tunnel to connect the railway stations Łódź Fabryczna and Łódź Kaliska/Żabieniec. The Territorial Contract for the Łódź voivodeship provides PLN 2 billion for this purpose.
In April 2014, a direct railway cargo connection between Łódź-Olechów and Chengdu in the Sichuan province in China was launched. Currently work is ongoing to extend the railway junction Zduńska Wola Karsznice. Transport services are also provided by the Władysław Reymont Airport.
The region sees the development of its historically rooted, traditional industries such as energy production, textiles, building ceramics, furniture manufacture, agri-food industry, creative branches, medical and pharmaceutical industries as well as modern services such as logistics, warehousing and outsourcing. Also the IT, telecommunication, household goods branches as well as agriculture and tourism are the region’s potential. One of the most dynamically developing technologies in the region is biotechnology supported by the realization of R&D projects, the well-educated human resources and the developed research infrastructure, e.g. labs.
Very important activities for the region’s economy are lignite mining and electrical energy production. The Bełchatów Lignite Mine, which is the leader of the Polish lignite mining, has been operating for over 30 years now. Its website says that it mines nearly 42 million tons of lignite a year, which accounts for over 50% of the annual domestic production of this resource. The lignite deposit exploited there amounts to more than 1 billion tons. The owner of the mine, PGE GiEK, also plans to mine lignite from a new deposit in Złoczew near Bełchatów, amounting to 0.5 billion tons of this fuel.
A strategic consumer of lignite is the Bełchatów Power Plant, which is the biggest lignite-fired power station in Poland and Europe. Its units generate power of 5298 MW, which accounts for approximately 19% of the power generated by the Polish power industry. The annual energy production of 27-28 TWh on average accounts for approximately 20% of the domestic production.
Apart from lignite, there are following resources mined in the Łódź voivodeship: kaolin clays, gypsum, limestone, marl, gravel, clays, thermal water, quartz (glass) and foundry sands, travertine.
An especially well-developed branch in the Łódź voivodeship is building and ceramics. More than half of the domestic production of ceramics and building materials (ceramic tiles, terracotta, building mortars and adhesives, glass) comes from such manufacturers as: Atlas Group, Paradyż Group, Opoczno, Tubądzin, Euroglas. And, in Działoszyn, in the south of the voivodeship, near the Cement Mill Warta S.A., travertine is mined, which is a highly-valued building finishing material.
The clothing and textile branch is presently focused on the production of high quality products, unique clothing, overcoats and clothes, cotton, wool and synthetic fabrics, hose, towel cloth, velvet and underwear. Medicine, pharmacy, cosmetics are increasingly using modern technologies such as biotechnology or nanotechnology, which enable the miniaturization of certain medical devices. And, it is Łódź that hosts the International Fair for Biotechnology and Bio business, called the Bio-Forum, which is the largest event of this kind in Central and Eastern Europe.
The pharmaceutical products of Polfa Kutno, Polfa Pabianice, Polfa Łódź are highly appreciated both in the country and abroad and Medana Pharma from Sieradz is a well-recognized manufacturer of pharmaceuticals and therapeutic cosmetics of the highest quality.
In the Łódź voivodeship, there are geothermal reservoirs that are estimated to account for 1/3 of the domestic resources. They have been well used by Uniejów, a town of 3 thousand inhabitants. EU funds (over PLN 250 million) were spent to build a large complex of thermal pools and restore the medieval castle – the former seat of the archbishops of Gniezno. It hosts a hotel today. Also, an Artists Retreat was built there and a Miller’s Farm that combines a museum and a hostel inside. And, a football centre was created in this town.
Although in the Łódź voivodeship farmland occupies over 48% of the area, the contribution of agriculture in creation of the Gross Regional Product is little more than 5%. The main crops are wheat, rye, sugar-beets, potatoes. The northern districts – Kutno, Łowicz and Łęczyca – can boast of fruit and vegetable growing. Moreover, the well-developing activities are the agri-food processing, the production of canned vegetables and meat, pastes, juices and beverages. The horse-reddish potentates in Poland are the communes of Kiełczygłów, Siemkowice, Osjaków and Rusiec supplying about 70% of the domestic production of this vegetable.
In the agri-food processing branch, the following companies can be mentioned: the Food Production Plant in Osjaków, the Fruit and Vegetable Processing Plant – Almar, the Łódź Wholesale Market Zjazdowa, the Gardening and Beekeeping Cooperative in Kutno, the Gardening and Beekeeping Cooperative “Pszczółka” in Łowicz, Agros Nova in Łowicz (“Fortuna” and “Łowicz” brands), Hortex Holding in Skierniewice, the Regional Dairy Cooperative in Sieradz and the Regional Dairy Cooperative in Radomsko.
The largest and dominating city in the region is Łódź. There are about 50% of the production enterprises concentrated here. The city can boast of numerous universities and R&D centres. Tens of fair and exhibition events are held in Łódź every year. International concerns such as ABB, Bosch Siemens, Gilette, IKEA, Philips set up their production units, sales and service centres and logistics centres in Łódź and its vicinity.
A great number of the latter ones are located near the town of Stryków, where the motorways A1 and A2 meet. The other large logistics centres are situated in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Piotrków Trybunalski, Kutno and Zgierz. The companies they belong to include: Kaufland, Raben, IKEA, Kerakoll, Casino, LEK. In the middle of 2013 the cumulative value of all the foreign investment in the voivodeship amounted to approximately EUR 3 billion.
In the Łódź voivodeship there is one of the best economic zones – the Łódź Special Economic Zone. At present, it covers 1302 ha in total and consists of 45 subzones in three voivodeships: the Łódź, Greater Poland and Mazovian ones. For 17 years it has issued over 275 business licences and the companies have implemented or announced investments worth over PLN 11.5 billion. They have or will generate more than 30 thousand jobs. The strongest branches present in the zone are: the household goods, cosmetics and pharmaceutical, IT and automotive ones. The companies operating within the zone include: ABB, BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte, Gillette Poland, Procter & Gamble.
At the end of August 2014, the unemployment rate registered in the Łódź voivodeship was 12.4%, which only slightly exceeded the national average rate of 11.7% at that moment. Too much working force is engaged in agriculture – 19.4% of all the employed keep working in this sector.
The Łódź voivodeship is an important academic centre. The number of students amounts to about 110 thousand and they study at 27 higher education facilities, including 21 non-public ones. Some of the facilities are: University of Łódź, Technical University of Łódź, Medical University, Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film Television and Theatre in Łódź, W. Strzemiński Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź, G. and K. Bacewicz Academy of Music in Łódź.
In the middle of 2013, the British International School was given new premises in Łódź under the auspices of the University of Łódź and the Łódź Special Economic Zone. This school provides education to the children of foreign entrepreneurs and investors staying on business in our region.
The Regional Programme of the Łódź Voivodeship for years 2007-2013 had financial resources from the European Regional Development Fund in the amount of EUR 1334 million. They were mainly used for the development of entrepreneurship and innovativeness (27%), transport infrastructure (25%) and environment protection (12%). Within the financial framework 2014-2020 the Łódź voivodeship will have an amount of EUR 2256 million at its disposal.
The Łódź voivodeship:
- area: 18.219 sq km
- population: 2.5 million
- population density: 140 people/sq km
- professionally active: 1.6 million people
- unemployment rate: 13.7% (2013)
- 24 districts
- cities with district rights: 3 (Łódź, Piotrków Trybunalski, Skierniewice)
- number of communes: 177
- Gross Regional Product (2012): approx. PLN 86 billion
- Average gross salary (2013): PLN 3,430.76 (PAP)