PUGLIA - Economy
Three major industrial centres in a network of small and medium-sized firms
The region's contribution to Italy's gross value added was around 4.6% in 2000, while its population was 7% of the total. The per capita GDP is very low compared to the national average and represents about 65% of the EU average.
In the last 20 years the industrial base of the region's economy has changed radically.
Alongside highly capital-intensive large-scale plants - such as ILVA (steel-making) in Taranto and Enichem (petrochemicals) in Brindisi and Manfredonia - a network of small and medium-sized firms has gradually expanded, and these now provide approximately 70% of the jobs in the region. The majority of such firms are financed by local capital.
As a result, highly specialised areas have developed, producing on a scale not only of domestic but also of international significance: food processing and vehicles in the province of Foggia; footwear, textiles, wood and furniture in the Barletta area north of Bari; wood and furniture in the Murge area to the west; engineering, rubber, wood and furniture and computer software around Bari itself; textiles and clothing at Monopoli-Putignano to the south; and footwear and textiles in the Casarano area.
In certain of these sectors - especially textiles, clothing, footwear, vehicles and food products - the region has attained a significant degree of competitiveness with foreign producers. A major contribution to the competitiveness of the region's economy stems from the existence of important research and development centres such as Tecnopolis-CSATA near Bari, the Cittadella della ricerca (Centre for research and new materials) near Brindisi and the new software development centres, again near Bari.
A basic problem is that of promoting a more lively interaction among all these factors of production.
The continued importance of agriculture
In comparison with the country as a whole, the economy of Puglia is characterised by a greater emphasis on agriculture and services and a smaller part played by industry.
Industry has been the driving force in income generation while services have fuelled the growth in jobs.
The share of gross value added generated by the agricultural and services sectors in the total gross value added of the region is above the national average in 2000, whereas the share of industry is below.
Labour productivity varies widely being lowest in agriculture and highest in the services sector.
In the last 10 years, increases in productivity have been noted especially in industry, which has thus generally improved its competitive position both at home and abroad.
The region has a good network of roads but the railway network is somewhat inadequate, particularly in the south.
Puglia's 800 km of coastline is studded with ports, which make this region an important terminal for transport and tourism to Greece and the eastern Mediterranean.