Geographic distribution of jobs and income in 2004
The weight of towns is more significant in terms of economic activity than population numbers: urban areas account for 77 % of jobs and 81 % of salaries paid, while they only account for 61 % of the population. Size variations are very large: some thirty large employment zones account for more than half of the total wage bill; in contrast, the 120 smallest zones make up less than 10 % of jobs and salaries. Industrial specialisation and skilled labour, two key factors affecting local competitiveness, are also very unevenly spread over the country. Three broad categories emerge from this: small areas with old industrial roots show a high level of specialisation and often the lowest rates of skilled labour; regional centres have both a diversified economy and a qualified labour pool; in areas focussing on high added value business services, Ile-de-France in particular, specialisation is strong and the labour force highly skilled.