In 2013 the Italian Physical Society [SIF], in collaboration with some of the major Italian research institutions, Centro Fermi, CNR, INAF, INFN and INRIM, commissioned an independent and quantitative analysis concerning the impact of all the industry, commerce and business sectors based on physics and physics-derived technology on the Italian economy. The study, conducted by Deloitte, a firm specialised in business and statistical analysis, covers a 4-year period, from 2008 to 2011.
The study takes into account all sectors of the economy where the use of physics – technologies or expertise – is critical to their existence. It includes research, manufacturing, transport, communications, construction and even finance. In 2010, there were around 262,000 enterprises or business units operating in physics-based sectors throughout Italy.
The results show that physics-based sectors make a considerable contribution to the Italian economy. In 2011 the physics-based sector contributes with €118 billion to Italian GVA, corresponding to over 7%.
Physics-based activity is not equally distributed in Italy: 66% of all physics-based jobs in Italy are located in the North. However, relative productivity per worker in the South of Italy is higher than in the North, and higher still in Central Italy.
In 2011, physics-based activities in Italy provided more than 1.5 million jobs over 2011, representing around 6% of the total national employment. Nevertheless the job market in physics based industries suffered from the economic crisis and 114,000 jobs were lost between 2008 and 2011. Nonetheless, jobs in the physics based sector continue to contribute significantly to the Italian economy, with their high productivity level. Indeed the turnover annually produced per worker exceeds the national average by more than 20%.
The study provides an accurate insight of the importance of physics in Italy. This study confirms the conclusion from the report on “The importance of physics to the economies of Europe” released by the EPS and Cebr in 2013: it is crucial to maintain – or increase – investment in physics sectors.
The report is available in English and Italian on the SIF website.