The economy of Frankfurt

Frankfurt is known as a commercially oriented city that has made trade fairs and congress epicenters home in the most populous city in Hesse.

As Germany’s financial capital, a large number of banks and brokerage houses have their headquarters there. Among them, one counts, for example, the Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank, Commerzbank, and even the European Central Bank, which is responsible for the monetary policy of the eurozone and the Deutsche Bundesbank.

Characteristics such as economy, traffic, and trade fairs characterize Frankfurt. With the trading platforms Frankfurter stock exchange and XETRA operated by Deutsche Börse AG, Frankfurt is the second-largest stock market in Europe and handles the lion’s share of German securities trading.

Despite high-income inequality, with a Gini coefficient of 44, this metropolis’ labor productivity advantage translates into an average household income of USD 55,800 (as of 2016). In comparison, the whole country has a Gini coefficient of 34 and an average income per household of USD 51,400. As of 2016, household spending excluding transport and housing was 5% above the national average. In 2016, education expenditure per household in Frankfurt was even 31% above the national average.

Although Frankfurt ranks second on the list of German cities with the highest rental prices (after Munich), it is considered to be more affordable in a national context. Housing separately did claim 7.3% higher expenditure per household in Frankfurt than in the rest of the country in 2016, mainly due to a shortage of housing units in the market. Around 5.8 million people live in the Frankfurt/Rhein-Main metropolitan region (Rhine-Main area).

Thanks to its central location, Frankfurt am Main is a hub in the German and European transport network with Frankfurt Main Airport, the main train station, and the Frankfurter Kreuz. Frankfurt Airport alone (6th largest airport in Europe) offers 81,000 jobs and is Germany’s largest workplace. According to a survey by Marsh & McLennan Companies (2009) [110], Frankfurt had the eighth-best infrastructure of all cities in the world (in terms of air transport, public transport, and traffic congestion, among other things), ahead of world cities such as London, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo or New York.

In Germany, only Munich (second place) and Düsseldorf (sixth place) performed better. Another special feature in Frankfurt is the constantly growing high-rise skyline. Some skyscrapers are among the highest in Europe. That is why Frankfurt am Main is sometimes ironically referred to as Mainhattan. Especially many high-rises are located in the so-called banking district, where the western city center, the eastern railway station district, and the southern west end meet.

A study group of economists annually examines the most important business centers in the world on behalf of Mastercard. Frankfurt am Main came in seventh in 2007, far ahead of all other German locations, as these are more national than global.


This article was written by Stephanie Fries who was a German apprentice interning at Irish Mortgage Brokers in April 2022

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