Services have become the strongest foundation on which Italy builds its economic health. With a 67.1 percent share of GDP in 2000, the sector is the largest contributor to the national economy. The enormous expansion of service industries over the last couple of decades has encouraged the government to regard as a priority further investment in the sector. Since 1991, the number of employees in the service sector of the state bureaucracy, however, has steadily decreased as part of the government's cost-cutting policy and important state-run services are being given over to the private sector.
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