With a population of 552,000, Poznań is one of the oldest and largest cities in Poland. The city is an important junction in Europe’s East-West corridor and is a significant centre for trade, services, industry, culture, higher education and science. The old town hosts many historic buildings. It is also among the leading Polish cities in terms of its economy, which is dominated by the services sector—providing 71% of the city’s gross value added and employing 74% of the working population. Gross domestic product per capita is the second highest in Poland after Warsaw.
Along with a large network of small and medium-sized enterprises, Poznań is also home to a number of major international corporations including GlaxoSmithKline, Volkswagen, Unilever, Carlsberg, Microsoft and Samsung. At the end of 2010, some 98,000 businesses were registered in Poznan—with 99% of them being SMEs employing up to 49 people, and the vast majority of these being micro-companies employing fewer than 10 people. The city also has a major trade fair activity, hosting the Poznań International Fair—the second largest exhibition in central and eastern Europe.
Companies employing more than 1,000 people were operating in the fields of manufacturing, construction, transport, communications, finance, education, healthcare and administration—with the largest industrial employer being Volkswagen. The employment situation in Poznań has been favourable in comparison with other large cities in Poland for the past twenty years. The unemployment rate—3.5% in December 2010—is one of the lowest in the country and nearly three times lower than the national average.
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