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The Albufera
City of Valencia
Valencia is one of Spain’s largest cities, and a major centre of economy and industry. Its port, El Grao, is one of the busiest on the Mediterranean coast. The main exports from the city are food and drink (mainly wine, oranges, lemons and rice), furniture, ceramic tiles, fans, textiles and iron products. The city is an important centre for the marketing of agricultural and horticultural produce, especially fruit, most of it flowing into the city from the surrounding region. Valencia itself is a manufacturing centre that focuses on metallurgy, chemicals, textiles, shipbuilding and brewing.
The Valencian Community is located at the East of the Iberian Peninsula within the Mediterranean arch; it has an extension that compared to the national area, represents the 4.60%. The three provinces that form the Valencian Community (Castellón de la Plana at the North, Valencia and Alicante at the South) represent the aforementioned percentage and are situated along the coast.
SPAIN: 506.000 Km2
The population of the Valencian Community is unequally disseminated in the three provinces, having Valencia more than a half of the population.
SPAIN: 40.450.055 inhab.
VALENCIAN COMMUNITY: 4.029.774 inhab.
V.C/ SPAIN: 10%
The activity rate is slightly higher in the Valencian Community (51.68%), compared to the Spanish data.
On the other hand the level of unemployment is lower than that of the Spanish territory. Although this type of data depends on the source that we select, we have to bear in mind that the Valencian Community is one of the Spanish regions with a major black economy (or not declared), so it is supposed that the level of unemployment is not that high.
Diversity is the main feature that can define the Valencian Economy where the crop to export prevails with manufacturing industries that elaborate durable goods for the final consumption as shoes, toys, furniture, pavement and ceramic coverings etc..., and a strong tertiary sector that is mainly related to commerce and tourism. At the same time, the exporting vocation of the community gives to the Valencian economy an open character.
However, there are some more elements that typify the Valencian economy:
1. The intensive use of the work factor, that is explained and related according to the type of product to which the traditional industry is addressed.
2. Existence of an important tourist sector.
3. Predominance of small and middle-sized businesses that often have very low levels of technology and capitalisation.
4. Human Resources with lower levels of qualification than the Spanish average, but with a high experience in certain productive processes.
Structural change of the Valencian economy.
The decade of the 60s establishes the beginning of the structural change in the Valencian economy which is reflected by a growth in the quantity of industries and in the service sector to the detriment of agriculture, mostly due to the substitution of the rural economy, to a slight reduction of the industrial manufacturing activities and to the modernisation of the productive structure of the service sector.
Nevertheless, several factors related to the occupational structure have contributed together to this change:
1. First, that related to the construction and motivated by the requirements of tourism and the demographic growth.
2. Second, the renovation of certain agricultural activities in which the reduction of the labour force has changed to a significant growth of productivity; such renovation has been shown these three processes:
- First, the abandonment of the crops for dry farming because of its low profitability.
- Secondly, the fortification of the part-time agriculture.
- And finally, the transformation of the intensive and forced agriculture (vegetables, green houses, etc...), with a capitalisation coming from reinvestments, and the professionalism of the full-time farmers.
3. Growth of the traditional industrial activities. That growth is characterised by the intensive use of the internal labour force of the production units, and by the extensive use of the external labour force as the black economy.
Together with the growth of the traditional industry, supporting industrial sectors have emerged: chemical, machinery and electronics that relate to economic and occupational strategies quite different to the traditional ones in relation to innovation, training and qualification.
4. A major endowment of equipment and social public services directly related to the basic social necessities such as health, education or administrative functioning.
5. An increment of the activities of the private service sector, such as:
- Development of activities supporting the tourism.
- Proliferation of activities of autonomous managers whose percentage is higher in the Valencian Community than in the rest of Spain. These activities are developed by small shops, bars, repair shops, those working as subcontracted by other bigger companies and even those holding a higher degree who create their own company.
- Services emerged as an external support to small and middle-sized businesses that have been very important in the case of the Valencian Community.
Characteristics of the Valencian Industry
In the Valencian industrial net, some big companies share the market with a great quantity of small and middle-sized businesses belonging to those known as traditional sectors, supporting an intensive labour force. The influence of these main businesses in the industrial development, has been indirect according to a training and demand of skilled labour force and to a major requirement of the quality of the providers.
Besides it is necessary to mention that this community has always been a good area for entrepreneurs, which has motivated a strong presence of small and middle-sized businesses in the managerial structure. The region presents relevant importance of the small and middle-sized businesses in the industrial structure. At the beginning of the 90s, almost 97% of the companies had less than 50 employees, but adding the number of companies with 50 to 100 employees the percentage rises up to 99%.
The sector that holds the biggest number of companies is the food and agriculture sector, followed in number by Wood-Furniture sector. On the contrary the Ceramic and Toy sector are the ones holding a lower number of companies.
In relation to the employment the Metal-Mechanic sector is the one holding the biggest number of employment, followed by far by the rest of the sectors with the exception of the Toy sector, which compared to the rest of the sectors has a low level of employment.
In relation to percentages of the Spanish production, it is necessary to mention that the Ceramic and Toy sectors are the ones holding the highest percentages.
puerto de Valencia
The port of Valencia, which handles 20% of Spain’s exports, is the country’s biggest port for container traffic. Extensive renovations have been completed and ambitious expansion projects are under way.
From mid the Eighties, with the entrance of Spain in the European Community, the flow of immigrants has experienced a remarkable and progressive growth. In those same dates a qualitative change in the type of immigration begins to take place, sending the European presence and increasing coming from Africa and Latin America.
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