Sabato, 22 Settembre 2018

Jobless crisis festers as youth hopes fade


(By Christopher Livesay)
Rome, August 30 - Italy's worst recession in
decades continues to pound the economy, according to
disheartening data from the national statistics agency Friday
that showed a stagnant unemployment rate above the European
Union average.
Istat said that joblessness was stuck at 12% in July for
the fourth straight month, up 1.3% from July 2012.
585,000 jobs were lost in the second quarter, it said,
keeping the rate 1% worse than the EU's 11%.
In total, the number of people without a job in Italy hit
3.075 million in the second quarter.
This was 370,000 more than the same period in 2012, a rise
of 13.7%, the statistics agency said.
More than half the unemployed are over 35 and 55.7% have
been seeking work for a year or more.
But those hardest hit continue to be Italian youth, a
section of society where unemployment rose 0.4% to 39.5% in
July, 4.3% higher than July 2012, Istat said.
The 15-to-24-year-old jobless rate for the second half of
2013 was up an annual 3.4% to 37.3%.
At the end of last month the Senate passed a government
decree to combat rampant youth unemployment by giving businesses
tax breaks if they make temporary work contracts for young
adults under 30 permanent.
Officials say the new decree could affect more than 190,000
small and mid-sized business, including about 54,000 operating
in Italy's south, which has especially high unemployment.
Some 51% of young women in southern Italy are out of work.
Experts say unemployment numbers belie the true toll of the
crisis, as many who are technically employed have only part-time
or temporary jobs and would prefer full-time work.
Earlier this month Istat reported that the number of
Italy's underemployed grew by 154,000 people in 2012, up 66%
since 2007.
Nine out of 10 part-time workers said they would rather be
working full-time, according to Istat.
Yet even temporary contracts are dwindling, Istat said.
The number temp workers slumped 7.2% in the second quarter
of the year, as the decline of the first three months of 2013
became increasingly accentuated.
Italy's longest recession since World War II wiped out some
209,000 short-term or unguaranteed-work contracts in the second
quarter of the year.
The total number of temp workers in Italy totalled 2.7
million in the period.
Last week Premier Enrico Letta said that the fight against
unemployment will be at "the heart of the Italian semester" when
Italy assumes the presidency of the EU in the second half of
The number of Italians suffering from some form of labor
difficulty, from underemployment to unemployment, is nearly nine
million, according to the Ires research group.
On a positive note, Italian inflation fell from 1.2% in
July to 1.1% in August, its lowest since December 2009, Istat
said Friday.
The drop was largely due to lower food and energy prices.
The price of the 'trolley' of most frequently bought goods
and services was steady between July and August, with an annual
rise of 1.7%, compared to 2% in July, the statistics agency

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