Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018

Quarter of Italians face hardship, many young idle


(By Emily Backus)
Rome, May 22 - Around quarter of Italians are
facing economic hardship as the country endures its longest
recession in over 20 years and almost one in four of the
nation's young people are reluctantly idle, Istat said on
Italy has the highest proportion of young people doing
''nothing'' in Europe, with almost a quarter of
15-to-29-year-olds not in education, employment or training
(NEET), the national statistics agency said in its annual
It said that 2.25 million 15-to-29-year-olds were NEETs in
2012, 23.9% of the total, an increase of 100,000 on 2011.
The percentage of people in this age group actively seeking
a job was 25.2% in 2012, compared to 20.5% in 2011.
The number of 15-to-29-year-olds studying in 2012 was
stable at around four million or 41.5%.
Almost 15 million people - a quarter of the population -
were living in some form of economic hardship at the end of
2012, Istat said in its report.
Serious economic hardship afflicted 8.6 million, 14.3% -
more than twice as many as the 6.9% who faced this situation in
Istat said it took many factors into account when
determining whether a person is in hardship - whether they have
savings to meet unexpected outlays; whether they can afford a
week on holiday away from home; whether they are behind on
payments for their mortgage or rent; whether they can afford an
adequate protein-rich meal every two days; whether they can
afford to adequately heat their homes, and whether they have
money to buy items such as a car and a washing machine.
Istat said 16.6% could not afford an adequate meal every
two days, three times as many as two years ago.
Over half, 50.4%, could not afford a week on holiday away
from home, compared to 46.7% in 2011.
The agency added that the tax burden climbed 16.1% to its
highest level since 1990 last year, following a series of hikes
and new taxes introduced in 2012 by former premier Mario Monti's
technocrat government to steer Italy out of the centre of the
eurozone crisis.
It said this pushed the percentage of the average family's
disposable income that went to taxes and social security up to
30.3% in 2012, compared to 29.4% in 2011, while disposable
income itself fell 2.2%.
The purchasing power of Italian families fell with ''with
exceptional intensity'' by 4.8% in 2012, a rate not seen since
the early 1990s.
From 2008 to 2012, a net total of 506,000 jobs were lost
while the stability of the jobs created or remaining was
undermined, the report said.
Since the beginning of the crisis five years ago, 950,000
''regular'' jobs have been lost, meaning full-time, permanent
Part-time jobs grew by 425,000.
In 2012 alone, 410,000 full-time jobs were lost and 253,000
part-time jobs added, and 89,000 ''atypical'' arrangements
created - a category that includes outside collaborators and
temporary contracts.
Since the end of 2011, when interest rates on Italian
sovereign debt went through the roof, credit to businesses has
been squeezed.
Small businesses have felt the brunt of the crunch, and are
twice as likely to see loans turned down as medium-sized
Despite Italy's severe economic and employment woes, over
half of Italians polled did not feel that migrants living in the
country were biting into the slim job market.
Some 61.4% of those surveyed in Istat's annual report said
that ''immigrants are necessary to do work that Italians do not
want to do,'' while 62.9% do not believe that foreigners living
in the country are ''taking work away''.
While 86.7% of those polled believe that everyone should
have the right to live in ''any country they choose'', half of
them did maintain that Italians should be chosen first over
foreigners for employment openings.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano commented on the Istat
report in a message on Wednesday, saying Italy must ''create the
conditions for economic recovery that offers - especially to the
youngest generations - concrete prospects of work in the context
of sustainable and fair growth''.
Napolitano added that the Istat report ''constitutes an
opportunity to examine deeply the evolution of our country'' and
''can furnish policy decision makers important (information)
support, helping (them) understand the crisis's effects on
businesses and families and to identify possible lines of

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