In terms of economy, the Silesian Voivodeship is one of the strongest in Poland. 13% of Poland's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is generated here, giving the Voivodeship the second highest rank in Poland. GDP per inhabitant amounts to PLN 32,800 and is by 4,000 higher than the national average.
The economic transformations going on in the region have resulted in a significant change in the structure of the gross added value (the newly produced value) generated in the region. The share of market and non-market services accounts for nearly 60% and industry 33%, ranking Silesia first in Poland.
The Silesian Voivodeship is rich in natural resources such as hard coal, deposits of zinc, lead, methane, natural gas, marlstone, chalkstone, and natural break-stone, as well as medicinal, thermal and mineral waters. The existing raw material base led to the creation of Poland's largest industrial region.
Currently, hard coal mining and iron and steel industry are undergoing deep restructuring. Reduced employment rate, from 243,000 people in 1997 to 121,300 in 2009, and improved efficiency are some of the effects brought by the transformations implemented in mining. Metallurgy, on the other hand, has been affected by essential changes in forms of ownership and management structure. The result is nearly complete privatisation of the industry.
Parallel to the above transformations, also the entire fuel-energy system is under restructuring. Owing to the high concentration of industry, the Silesian Voivodeship is Poland's largest electric energy producer (20% of domestic production).
Now in the process of restructuring, traditional Silesian industrial branches were the basis on which branches connected with their operation were developed, that is, first of all engineering industry, equipped with appropriate machines and experienced staff. After the difficult transformations introduced in the first years of the nineties, the industry entered numerous foreign markets and now is a crucial element of the industrial landscape of the Voivodeship.
Restructuring in the recent years has caused systematic changes in the economic structure of the Voivodeship. The whole industry reports a decreased share of mining and metallurgy, which until recently were predominant in the economy of the Voivodeship, and an increased share of the electro-engineering industry, the information technology industry, power industry and, reporting the most rapid growth, the automotive industry (the region is Poland's largest car producer) and food industry.
Over 430,000 national economy entities are registered in the Silesian Voivodeship. The largest part is comprised of natural persons running a business activity - 325,000 - and companies and commercial law partnerships - 30,000. The least numerous is the group of state-owned enterprises - 28.
Of the total number of economic entities, 96% operate in the private sector.