11. Attractiveness’ of Treviso system context update

In illustrating the Treviso System for our column Investing in Treviso” , we have often dwelt on the contextual factors that should express the environmental conditions for the attractiveness of our territory, both as a recipient of preferences and investments from outside (from other Italian and foreign territories), and as a promoter of new initiatives by the province’s residents themselves.

But environmental conditions are not immutable and are constantly changing to a greater or lesser extent. Therefore, it is necessary to periodically update them both in terms of their values and the verification of their content, i.e. their degree of significance. In fact, it is not certain that the context factors always express in the same way and with the same intensity the reasons for attractiveness to direct, positively or otherwise, new investments.
While always bearing in mind the strengths of the Treviso economy, which have also been summarised recently (see in this regard the article published on this Portal on 26 August 2008) and which may possibly be subject to some revision when all the data on trends relating to the current financial and economic crisis are officially known, this article presents some updates on the Treviso context factors, already mentioned in a number of articles on the attractiveness of the Treviso System.

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Every year, the two business newspapers ‘Il Sole 24Ore’ and ‘Italia Oggi’ publish in December the results of a respective survey (each with its own indices) on the quality of life in the Italian provinces. The numerous indicators contained concern economic and social aspects of the quality of life, some of which are also significant for an assessment of the degree of investment attractiveness, others less so.

Selected here are those considered most significant and which have already been mentioned in previous articles. The update consists of comparing the old data referring to the surveys at the end of 2006 with the new ones referring to the December 2008 surveys.

The results indicated in the table at the end of the article show the following trends, which are on the whole satisfactory.
First of all, it should be noted that GDP per capita is the most important indicator of the degree of economic development in a territory. The relative ranking has improved significantly for Treviso, which goes from 41st to 21st place, keeping the difference of almost 10,000 euro with the leader Milan almost unchanged. Evidently, other provinces, ranked before Treviso two years ago, have not kept pace.

Treviso’s ranking positions in terms of bank deposits, average pension amount and cost-of-living index have also improved, albeit slightly. This means that the population’s economic conditions are gradually progressing and there is no strong pressure on price levels, which would nullify the increased spending capacity.

The biggest problem lies in the cost of housing, which remains high and relegates our province to 80th place in Italy. This phenomenon seems inevitable for the time being, since the Treviso area is heavily clogged with residential and production settlements, and there is no sign of a trend reversal due to the fact that the economy continues to attract labour from outside (Italian and foreign immigration), which must find accommodation within the territory. Even the current crisis, all things considered, does not cause emigration as the perception remains (which, however, will have to be corroborated by final results that are not yet available) that the Treviso economy is better able than other territories to cope with the current economic adversity. A solution to the settlement tension can only occur with a generalised reorganisation of production supported by the centralisation of existing operating units, decentralisation of low value-added production and the spread of IT and telematic techniques. But a relevant manifestation of these trends will take a long time.

With regard to provincial human resources, it can be noted that the employment rate increased and gained a place in the ranking (from 19th to 18th), while the unemployment rate is less significant, which also improved (from 4.1% to 3.9%), but made Treviso’s position fall because other provinces improved more in this indicator. However, the detected unemployment depends on the people who declare themselves as such and not on the number of those who are out of work for any reason.

The backwardness of the Treviso province in terms of registered companies and the ratio of registrations to bankruptcies, contrary to widespread belief, should be viewed positively because the Italian production system is too fragmented (indeed pulverised) and therefore a lower number of companies represents a strengthening of the overall economic fabric and not an impoverishment of the entrepreneurial spirit. As a matter of fact, the number of bankruptcies has greatly improved, bringing Treviso from 78th to 16th place, even though the annual bankruptcy figure is often fluctuating and subject to significant variations.

Finally, the per – capita amount of protests was better, although Treviso’s position in the ranking slightly worsened.

But left out of these indicators are two excellences of our province that were noted in 2006 but not in 2008. These are the first place for employment of non-EU workers and the fifth for non-performing bank loans, positions that should not have worsened in the last two years. This means that Treviso still enjoys a sufficient additional and low-cost labour force, which allows it a certain price competitiveness even on international markets, and furthermore, the substantial cheapness of its production activities allows it to honour its debts to the banking system in a timely manner, resulting in rare and modest non-performing loans.

A final notation that encompasses all economic and social aspects according to the satisfaction perceived by citizens, is given by the fact that in the latest Sole 24Ore survey the ranking of individual satisfaction encapsulated in a synthetic ‘personal happiness index’ ranked Treviso second in Italy, after Bolzano. This means that, beyond the subjective feelings of those interviewed, in the province of Treviso there is a greater capacity to adapt to difficulties (i.e. negative indicators) and a better appreciation of positive aspects. This mental attitude is no small thing for overcoming crises and pursuing development.

Renato Chahinian

BACKGROUND FACTOR

 2006 SURVEY

2008 SURVEY 

RANKINGS

VALUE

RANKINGS

VALUE

GDP per – capita

Bank accounts per inhabitant

Average monthly amount of pensions

Cost of Living Index

Cost per square metre of living in the semi-centre

Employment rate

Unemployment rate

Registered companies per inhabitant

Annual company registrations/deletions report

Bankruptcies for 1,000 enterprises

Amount per capita protests

1st Milan
41st Treviso
1st Milan
26th Treviso
1st Milan
45th Treviso
1st Avellino
21st Treviso
1st Caltanissetta
80th Treviso
1st Reggio Emilia
19th Treviso
1st Bologna
22nd Treviso
1st Grosseto
39th Treviso
1st Crotone
80th Treviso
1st Grosseto
78th Treviso
1st Belluno
33rd Treviso

34.270 euro
24.461 euro
25.689 euro
11.952 euro
912 euro
653 euro
1,10%
1,90%
1.150 euro
2.650 euro
70,8%
65,7%
2,7%
4,1%
13,96%
11,11%
1,69%
1,08%
n. 3,33
n.19,23
10,04 euro
38,75 euro

1st Milan
21st Treviso
1st Trieste
25th Treviso
1st Milan
42nd Treviso
1st Trento
20th Treviso
1st Caltanissetta
80th Treviso
1st Parma
18th Treviso
1st Reggio Emilia
39th Treviso
1st Grosseto
44th Treviso
1st Roma
83rd Treviso
1st Sondrio
16th Treviso
1st Belluno
36th Treviso

39.442 euro
29.574 euro
29.485 euro
12.736 euro
963 euro
714 euro
0,87%
1,45%
1.240 euro
2.840 euro
72,4%
67,5%
1,9%
3,9%
13,32%
10,78%
1,38%
0,96%
n. 6,29
n.11,65
10,53 euro
36,76 euro