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Italy, Economy

Italian economy, Maastricht Treaty, agricultural country, telecommunication systems, s Italy

A largely agricultural country before World War II (1939-1945), Italy has developed a diversified industrial base in the north, which contributes significantly to the economy. In 2000 the gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $1.07 trillion, or about $18,620 per capita; industry contributed 30 percent to the value of domestic output, services 68 percent, and agriculture (including forestry and fishing) 3 percent. Italy essentially has a private-enterprise economy, although the government formerly held a controlling interest in a number of large commercial and manufacturing enterprises, such as the oil industry (through the Italian state petroleum company) and the principal transportation and telecommunication systems. In the mid-1990s Italy was transferring government interest in many enterprises to private ownership. An ongoing problem of the Italian economy has been the slow growth of industrialization in the south, which lags behind the north in most aspects of economic development. Government efforts to foster industrialization in the south have met with mixed results, as problems with the workforce and the overriding influence of the criminal groups known collectively as the Mafia have discouraged many large corporations from opening operations there. Many southerners have migrated to northern Italy in search of employment. Unemployment remains a problem throughout the country, however; the unemployment rate remains at about 11 percent of the working-age population. The large national debt has also plagued Italy’s economy: The national budget of Italy in 1999 included revenue of $488 billion and expenditure of $495 billion. In keeping with provisions of the Maastricht Treaty, which created the European Union (EU), Italy is attempting to reduce its budget deficit. Progress was evident by 1996, with the debt reduced to 7 percent of GDP, although still far from the goal of 3 percent.

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Italian economy, Maastricht Treaty, agricultural country, telecommunication systems, s Italy, budget deficit, search of employment, private ownership, Mafia, southerners, unemployment rate, northern Italy, gross domestic product, World War, workforce, expenditure, European Union, oil industry, forestry, mixed results, provisions, fishing, large corporations, Progress, agriculture, goal, problems, services


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