The town is known for the Leunawerke, at 13 km2 one of the biggest chemical industrial complexes in Germany, where a very wide range of chemicals and plastics is produced.
In 1960, Leuna's population was nearly 10,000, but after reunification high unemployment rates and poor living conditions, including pollution from nearby industries, caused significant outward migration. Before the 31 December 2009 incorporation of neighbouring municipalities, its population had sunk to 6,670.
Leuna's industrial site stretches over 13 km², making it one of the widest chemical industry sites in Germany. At the beginning of the 21st century, a wide range of chemical products and plastics are made there. A pilot plant to produce isobutylene from vegetal stock is being built by the French company Global Bioenergies and should start during 2016.