In the European Union, the relative importance of industry in total employment, as measured by its share, has also declined since the millennium, from 19.3 % to 15.3 %. Furthermore, despite a generally declining trend identified above, it is still visible that industry is much more important in the Member States that joined the EU during and after the 2004 enlargement than in the other Member States. In 2016, the highest share of persons employed in industry relative to total employment in the country’s economy was recorded in the Czech Republic (29.1 %), Poland (23.5 %), Slovenia (22.5 %), Slovakia (22.3 %), Romania (21.4 %), Estonia and Bulgaria (both at around 20.2 %). Despite this relative importance, however, only Poland and Romania have kept the percentage of their population occupied in industry virtually unchanged. The rest of the countries have followed a (slower or faster) declining trend, attributed by Falkowski both to structural changes implemented under the EU’s industrial policy and to the economic crisis of 2009, which had a considerable impact on those countries’ industries.
On the other side of the spectrum, the EU Member States occupying the least people in industry (relative to their total population in employment) in 2016 were the United Kingdom (9 %), Greece (9.3 %), the Netherlands (9.5 %) and France (10.5 %).