Italian unemployment stable but still near record highs

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Italian unemployment stable but still near record highs

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Italy’s unemployment rate remained stable in April, but still at 12.6 percent of the workforce. It was the same as in March, which benefited with a slight downward revision from a 12.7 percent first estimate.

That is lower than the average for the first three months of the year, but the jobless trend for young people is still up and the percentage of working-age adults who are in work is still slipping.

In the first quarter unemployment hit 13.6 percent – a 0.8 percent increase on the same period last year.

Youth joblessness – that is 15- to 24-year-olds – was 46 percent for the whole country, and 60.9 percent in the south.

However those in full time education are not counted as being in the workforce in Italy, which makes the numbers seem worse than in other countries.

In southern Italy the overall unemployment rate reached 21.7 percent in the first quarter.

Trying to recover from recession the Rome government has now agreed to ease rules for firms that take on temporary staff. It is part of a plan to reform the labour laws and encourage more hiring.

But reacting to the latest statistics, Giorgio Squinzi, head of the employers’ organisation Confindustria, said: “Let’s not fool ourselves, we’re scraping along the bottom.”