Economic challenges in Ile-de-France

Cahiers, no. 124

30 septembre 1999Contact

In the framework of today’s economic context, employment, the reduction of unemployment and the acquisition of essential skills are among the primary concerns of Ile-de-France residents.

There are some shady areas in the economy of Ile-de-France

There is one conclusion to be drawn as the 1990s come to an end: the economic situation of Ile-de-France is less certain today than it has been in previous decades: difficulties in creating sustainable jobs and declining sectors such as technological research, finance and defence. This slow-down is confirmed in the Eurostat statistics, where the dynamism of the region since the early 1990s was not as well-oriented as that of Randstad, Frankfurt or London. Its main difficulty lies in unemployment, notably among the young.

An essential characteristic of the system of production in Ile-de-France is its extreme concentration

Today, Ile-de-France is a highly productive region with 550,000 companies in various fields such as industry, commerce and services. Its tertiary sector continues to develop: in 1998, over 80% of jobs were in the tertiary sector. Nearly 7 jobs in 10 are located in Paris and the three departments in the inner suburbs. An essential characteristic of the system of production in Ile-de-France, in relation to space, is its extreme concentration.

The economic growth observed in certain Ile-de-France areas is based on structural elements

Over the last two decades industrial companies have shut down in the region, which represents a loss of 500,000 jobs. If, although at first glance the core may not seem to have changed much, deep transformations have taken place. The number of Ile-de-France jobs located in Paris has gone down from 41.1% in 1979 to 32.4% in 1998, while the weight of the departments in the outer suburbs has risen from 23.3% to 31.5%. The economic growth observed in certain Ile-de-France areas is based on structural elements likely to have a leverage effect on economic development on a local level.

Unemployment and business locations in Ile-de-France are revealing increasing disparities

Early in the decade, there were significant disparities in unemployment levels among communes in Ile-de-France. The highest levels were concentrated in the north-east quarter of the centre of Ile-de-France. Unemployment in Ile-de-France has increased considerably since then. The map of executive and non-executive job seekers recalls the social make-up of communes in Ile-de-France. Can we permit a tendency toward coexistence of various economic areas with, on the one hand “winning” territories – attractive due to their easy access, a network of companies and quality services – and, on the other hand “loser” territories- activities on the decline, few services and occasionally confronted with significant social problems?

Defining a common economic development strategy in Ile-de-France

Six thousand or so development agencies are promoting their economic local areas. Ile-de-France benefits from many assets to attract investors and international companies but other metropolises have been able to better define a strategy based on strong communication. Moreover, with the implementation of the Euro, costs will be immediately visible that will be disadvantageous for less competitive regions. Ile-de-France must take into account its particular situation, which is distinguished by many economic actors. Defining a common economic development strategy in Ile-de-France would reinforce the actions of various actors.  Factors such as social cohesion, standards of living, security and the quality of the environment – with comparable economic assets considered – will mark the differences between metropolises.

Ressources

Today, the ability to innovate is a decisive advantage for the future.
© Doutre (Caroline) IAU îdF, BaSoH
Seven cities established a co-operation charter for the development of the area around the Ourcq Canal.
© Loudier (Céline), IAU îdF
Work pace and hours have significantly changed over the last few decades giving way to more flexibility.
© Lacombe (Matthias), IAU îdF
Early in the decade, there were significant disparities in unemployment levels among communes in Ile-de-France : in the last recent years geographic disparities increased.
© Degremont (Cécile), IAU îdF
Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport is an important business and employment zone, with 50,000 jobs on the airport platform alone, and nearly 500 companies.
© Doutre (Caroline) IAU îdF, BaSoH