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Parma economic features: a brief outline

pubblicato il 14/09/2010 18:36, ultima modifica 08/01/2011 22:17


The Province

Population figures 01.01.2010

437.308 inhabitants in the 47 municipalities of the province

of which:                      

  •      7,1% live in the 15 highland municipalities
  •      31,4% live in the 16 hills municipalities
  •      61,5% live in the 16 lowland municipalities

184.467 inhabitants in Parma. Besides Parma, the most densely populated municipalities are the towns of Fidenza (25.731 inhabitants) and Salsomaggiore (20.146 inhabitants).

Added Value in 2008

12.514 million euros, of which:

  • 352 million euros in agricolture
  • 4.591 million euros in industrial sectors
  • 7.571 million euros in the services sector and other sectors
GDP per capita in 2008

30.540 euros (Parma came 11th in the ranking of Italian provinces)

Business up to 31.12.2009

There are 47.344 enterprises in the Business Register, of which:

  • 15,1% work in the agricultural sector
  • 33,2% work in the manufacturing sector
  • 51,8% work in the services sector
Export data up to 31.12.2009

3.970 million euros

Export composition by main sectors:

  • 44,8% machinery
  • 25,2% food
  • 8,7% pharmaceuticals
  • 5,4% chemicals
Import data up to 31.12.2009

3.252 million euros


The province of Parma can certainly be defined as a well developed area, characterised by high per capita GDP rates, strong economic dynamism and high employment rates.

The population in the area is of 437.000 inhabitants. There are more than 47.000 enterprises, that is to 11 enterprises every 100 inhabitants. The pace of industrial growth is quite fast: in the past few years 1.8 new enterprises were created for each hundred existing enterprises.

The enterprises of the territory show a good tendency towards internationalization. They are more open and more export-oriented than the national average, thus creating a local industrial framework that shows a great deal of dynamism on foreign markets.

Today, this entrepreneurial system is trying to effectively cope with the challenges of globalization and tougher competition at the international level.

The success of Parma, in fact, does not exclusively depend on the competitiveness shown on the market by each single enterprise. Rather, it is the best outcome of the system of relations existing among local enterprises and between them and the local stakeholders.

The food sector is undoubtedly the prominent one in the economic system of Parma. It is the main sector in the province as for turnover and number of employees and it is strongly export-oriented: in 2009, more than 25% of the province export-related turnover came from the food sector.

At the same time, food production has solid roots in the local culture.

Parma, among all Italian provinces, has got the highest number of food products of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). This primacy does certainly depend on two main products: the “prosciutto di Parma” (Parma ham) and the “formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano” (Parmesan cheese). To these, one could add the other PDO, like the famous “culatello di Zibello” (swine thigh), and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) products, like the porcino mushroom of Borgotaro and others to be soon recognized, like the “salame di Felino” and the “coppa di Parma” (swine neck).

The excellent synergy created between tradition, food industry and technology has been crucial in the decision to make Parma the city hosting the headquarters of the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) since 2004.

In order to keep high levels of competitiveness, the agricultural supply chain is developing strategies aimed at focusing local agriculture production on a few, specialized sectors. The aim is to integrate more closely manufacturing processes and agriculture, while at the same time developing the research and marketing sectors.  

The development of the manufacturing sector created greater demand for services. Therefore, the economy of Parma, traditionally focused on manufacturing and agriculture, is now supported by the rapidly developing services sector: administration and financial services, ICT, consultancy, research, communication.

Within this economic system, trade and tourism also have great importance. In the trade sector, the focus is ensuring quality, and guarantee of quality. The tourism industry is looking for new destinations and services to offer apart from the spa sector, already well-known for the spa centres located in Salsomaggiore, Tabiano, Monticelli Terme.

Another important element of Parma economic landscape are cooperative enterprises, which work mainly in the services sector, in the building sector and in the agricultural supply chain.



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