In recent years, Canton Thurgau has become one of the top addresses in Switzerland for the establishment of new businesses. Numerous new enterprises are setting up shop in our attractive canton every year. Decisive are the excellent general conditions with low taxes and perfect connections. You simply get to your destination quicker than anywhere else. Here, visions become reality.
From the Agricultural Canton to the Industrial Canton
The economic history of Thurgau is marked by change. After the former hinterland of the bishop’s seat Constance joined the Swiss Confederation in the Late Middle Ages, an agricultural, rural society dominated. While the new border divided, on the one hand, it also motivated, on the other hand, people to overcome it through a special kind of openness, innovation, and belief in progress. The people of Thurgau have retained these traits until today. Countless pioneers took up residence here during the Age of Industrialization and turned the canton into one of the most industrialized cantons in Switzerland. Everything revolved around the machine industry, the textile industry, and the processing of agricultural products.
Thurgau has undergone a remarkable development over the last few decades which in recent years is due to the implementation of concrete objectives contained in a governmental business development plan: Low taxes, excellent transportation routes, and outstanding quality in education.
Today, Thurgau is a typical venue for small and midsized enterprises (SME). 88 % of all businesses have less than ten employees. At the same time, there are also a number of large, in particular, export-based enterprises which convey the innovative power and quality of Thurgau into the entire world. Several of these comapnies will be presented elsewhere in this magazine.
Vitality and Growth
Even today, Thurgau still has an above average industrialization. More than 35 % of all employees work in the secondary, i.e. manufacturing, sector. In contrast, the primary, i.e. raw materials, sector has been declining continuously so that only about 9 % of all employees work here. The service sector has grown considerably during the last few years and has created numerous new jobs. But also the construction industry and health services are important branches.
Between 2001 and 2005, Thurgau exhibited an above average growth in employment with 2.7 % (CH: 0.7 %). The expansion or the successful relocation of enterprises from the plastics, machine as well as vehicle and electric industries, which all represent intensive value creation branches with growth potential, send a clear signal. The canton has exhibited above average growth in the information science/business services and educational/research branches during the past few years. In addition to the 15,000 places of employment, more than 300 new businesses are founded in Thurgau every year.
Human Resources as Potential
Even though the canton underwent a remarkable structural change during the last few decades, employment always remained above the Swiss average and, thus, unemployment stayed below average. With its current unemployment rate of 2.4 %, it is about one percent less than that of Switzerland.
The economic history explains the reason for this excellent potential of human resources in the canton. Well educated and highly skilled workers who come from a broad range of vocational education and training programs as well as numerous graduates from the neighboring universities and universities of applied sciences all serve as an excellent recruitment ground for enterprises.
Sound Public Finances – Low Taxes
During the last few years, the parliament and the government of Thurgau has undertaken great efforts to turn the canton into one of the most attractive regions in Switzerland with regard to taxes. This goal was achieved through numerous revisions in the tax legislation. Existing and new businesses have since then enjoyed these lower tax rates and, thus, have sufficient potential for investment and expansion.
It is also worth noting that Thurgau has not only low taxes, but also one of the most efficient and inexpensive administrative structures in all of Switzerland.
Thurgau, the Gate to Switzerland and Europe
Another vital factor for the prosperous economy in Thurgau is its close proximity to Germany and, thus, to the EU. The city bridge Kreuzlingen/Constance provides a strong and intense traffic-based, infrastructural, touristic, educational, and societal link to the neighbor in Baden-Wuerttemberg. The busy cross-border traffic and impressive exchange of goods, services, and employees furnish proof of the close relationships in the Lake Constance region via the canton of Thurgau. 2,500 generally well-educated commuters come to work in Thurgau and, thus, foster the growth of the region. Many export-based firms as well as numerous logistics and transportation companies have settled in the Kreuzlingen-Constance area. Due to the increased number of close links and the opening borders, Thurgau has an outstanding foundation with which it can achieve its economic and employment objectives.
Edgar Georg Sidamgrotzki
Office for Economics and Labor