Economic challenges in Ile-de-France
Cahiers, no. 124
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.