Emilia-Romagna is a leading region in Europe in terms of entrepreneurship and economic dynamism. In 2017 active people in working age are more than 70%, and the women activity rate is one of the highest in Italy (Eurostat, 2018). The unemployment rate is 6.7% in 2017 far below that the national average (11.4%) and the European one (7.8%).
With a total GDP of about 154 billion € in 2016, the GDP per capita PPS is equal to 35,300 €, one of the highest in Italy, after Lombardy (region of Milan, Italian financial pole) and some small autonomous and highly subsidized Alpin regions and provinces.
In 2008 and 2009 Emilia-Romagna economy was deeply affected by the global economic crisis. Unemployment rate sharply increased from 3.2% to 4.8%, export fell by about 25% and regional GDP fell by 5.3%. After some difficult years, since 2014 employment is growing again, and exports are largely higher than 2008.
The region has the highest propensity to export in Italy. They are about 30 billion € (ISTAT, 2018), that represent 16% of GDP. The value of export per capita is equal to about 6800 €.
There are 385,000 enterprises (Unioncamere Emilia-Romagna, 2018) located in the region. Like in the rest of the country, the majority of enterprises has less than ten employees. A large number of companies (about 46,000) belong to manufacturing industry. Manufacturing plays the leading role for the whole regional economy. It is concentrated on some powerful clusters, apparently belonging to traditional sectors, but able to activate medium and medium-high technology activities and high innovation capabilities. The most relevant group of industries are linked to mechanical engineering and automotive. We can list: sport cars and motorcycles, agricultural machines, shipbuilding and off shore, industrial automation and robotics, various industrial sectors equipment (food processing and packaging, wood processing, ceramics, etc...), sensoristics and precision farming, medical equipment. Other powerful clusters are agri-food, construction materials and technologies, biomedical industries, fashion.
Tourism and entertainment industries are very important in the coast area. Cultural and gastronomic tourism is increasing in the last years.
Sectors that need to be reinforced are ICT and creative industries, still not enough developed and competitive. The service sectors in general is characterized by low productivity.
Other original aspects of the region are: the huge (and unique in Italy) presence of the co-operative economy, especially in the agri-food, construction, logistics, retail, social economy, but also with successful manufacturing cases; widespread handicraft and micro enterprise tradition; increasing presence of multinationals by mergers and acquisitions of existing firms, and recently, by green field investments.