Economic environment

Population: 21,149 (01.01.2016).
Population density: 10.3 inhabitants/km².
Size: 2,383 km² – 5.3% of the total territory of Estonia.
Labour force: 11,500 , unemployment rate 5.5%. (31.01.2017)
Most important industries: The light industry, timber industry and from the service industry recreation and the spa sector, are the fields of entrepreneurship ensuring employment and producing for international and Estonian markets.

Five good reasons to invest in Lääne County, Estonia:

1. Good connections and modern network of roads – good access(100 km, 1h 10 min drive) to the international airport and the capital.
2. Well functioning cargo and passenger ports – Virtsu, Rohuküla and Dirhami ports are connecting islands Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Vormsi and Osmussaar with the mainland. Dirhami port is icefree during most of the winter, other ports operate all year round.
3. Skilled labour at competitive cost, good cooperation with vocational training centre.
4. Availability of industrial land with developed infrastructure, including two industrial parks near Haapsalu – two available sites (ca 9,000 m2) with all communications in the Uuemõisa Industrial Park and 29 available sites inKiltsi 45 ha Industrial Park.
5. Fast decision making and low bureaucracy.

The biggest challenge in Lääne county is the heavy competition for workers, which has also contributed to relatively small unemployment numbers. This is primarily due to the relative ease of finding employment in Tallinn or Finland. On the other hand, the creation of micro enterprises has helped bring on a quick reduction in unemployment. In Lääne county there were 51,3 companies per 1 000 inhabitants in 2012. But there was almost 800 micro enterprises per 10 000 inhabitants, and this is where Lääne county is outperforming most Estonian counties (source: Statistics Estonia). The high percentage of micro enterprises and conscious efforts of many major companies to hold onto their employees feeds the hope that the outflow of workforce can be slowed. Haapsalu, the regional hub with possibly the greatest attraction factor in Lääne county, is increasingly known as a town of creative people. The development of creative industries supports an increase in employment and growth of the tourism industry.