Italy within the European context
In 2016 in the Eu there were approximately 47.8 private industry and service enterprises operating per 1,000 inhabitants with extremely different densities among Eu28 countries. Although the Italian economy was more heavily affected by the financial crisis compared to the average European partners, Italy remains in the 5 top positions among the countries with the highest density of private production activities.
The fragmentation of the productive system is more evident in Italy, where the average enterprise size is much smaller than the European average.
Among the major economies, Germany and the United Kingdom show a prevalence of large enterprises and a lower share of self-employed, indicating a preference for joint stock corporate forms.
In Italy, the vocation and role of entrepreneurs remain strong, with values more than double the Eu average and preceded only by Greece. In terms of enterprise birth and death rates there are wide gaps between Member States, with high values for Eastern Europe countries, United Kingdom and Portugal.
In general in Italy the productive system shows the same characteristics of some economies of the Mediterranean area, which remain closely linked to local forms of corporation, especially micro service enterprises, while the presence of industry is stronger in Eastern Europe.
In 2015, Eu28 Member States produced an average of 148.5 Euros of added value per every 100 euros of unit labour cost. The indicator highlighted the difficult situation of Italian enterprises which obtained the third last positions in the Eu ranking. Beside Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom, the most competitive enterprises were located in Eastern Europe, where low salaries and low social security contributions resulted in a better ability to exploit low labour unit costs.