MARCHE - Economy
A solid economic structure between modernity and tradition
Marche's contribution to Italy's gross value added is 2.6% (in 2001) and its population represents a share of 2.6% of the national total (Census 2001). Per capita GDP is about the same as for Italy as a whole, and is 2% above the EU average.
Up to 30 years ago Marche was considered a rather poor region, although economically stable in some sectors, thanks particularly to its agricultural output and to the contribution of traditional crafts.
Today the contribution of agriculture to the economy of the region has less importance than in the past, and the gross value added generated by this sector is slight, just above the national average.
Mache has never suffered from the extremes of fragmented land ownership or ' latifondo'. Greatly diffused in the past, the sharecropping never produced an extreme land fragmentation. The main products are cereals, vegetables, animal products and grapes.
In spite of the marine impoverishment, the sea has always furnished a plentiful supply of fish, the main fishing centres being Ancona, San Benedetto del Tronto, Fano and Civitanova Marche.
In the last 30 years the economy of Marche has been radically transformed, without however repudiating its rural past. Many of the small craft workshops scattered throughout the rural settlements have modernised and become small businesses.
This evolution led to the emergence of 'specialised' industrial areas, which are still profitable: footwear and leather goods in a large area straddling the provinces of Macerata and Ascoli Piceno; furniture in the Pesaro area in particular; household appliances and textile industry in the province of Ancona, in which the main engineering companies are also to be found (including ship building, petrochemicals and paper, as well as consumer durables).
In the services sector, which overtook agriculture and industry combined in 1981, a major role is played by tourism. In 2001 some 7 million tourists - 11% of them from abroad - stayed in the 1 082 hotels and in the 13 980 other collective accommodations.
New role for agriculture and growth of the services
Although agriculture in Marche has no longer the importance it once had, it still plays a part in the local economy, moreover playing a new role in local development by turning itself into rural economy, a way of production that adds to the traditional contents of the agricultural activities the new possibilities of work and profit which arise from farm holidays, typical products and organic-bio food production and trade.
In 2001 agriculture contributed by 2.8% to the total gross value-added of the region.
Industry in Marche is essentially made up of small businesses spread throughout the region, some of witch became big brands well known all over the world (Ariston, Tod's, Guzzini, Teuco). The special feature of industrial development in Marche is that industry went where labour was becoming available from an increasingly mechanised agricultural sector; for this reason the local industrial structure grew stronger during the last 30 years, although it is now decreasing. In 2001, this sector generated 31.4% of the gross value added of the sector, which is above the national average.
Foreign trade is a remarkable component of the local economy, especially in the manufacturing sector. Between 1995 and 2002, exports increased their value by 48%: in 2002 around 8 300 millions Euros of exportations took place in Marche to all over the world, mostly directed to European countries (77%), in particular the EU (52%).
Within the services sector a major role is played by the distributive trades, hotels and catering, of which the contribution rises each year. In 2001, the services sector represented more than 65% of the gross value added generated by the region.
Furthermore the region continues to be appealing for tourists whose number is constantly increasing during the years, with large numbers of visitors attracted by the rich and disseminated heritage of history and monuments, in addition to the traditional seaside tourism.