Every four minutes…..

unemployedyoung2Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s government has been trying to convince the country   –  especially Italy’s unions – that new modifications to Italian labor laws (the one’s that limit a company’s freedom to fire excess personnel) are a must. But while the arguing goes on – with it now looking like the young premier will have to call a confidence vote to get parliament to follow his lead on this – Italy’s statistical office continues to churn out the bad news where “lavoro”, employment, (or, more accurately, unemployment), is concerned. The latest figures show that in August, youth unemployment (that regarding people between the ages of 15 and 25( has climbed to 44.2%, up 3.6% over the last year. In all, unemployed young Italians number 710,000, which means in over the last 12 months some 88,000 of them have lost the jobs they did have and this, the economists tell us, means that every four minutes, some young person here is being laid off.

Earlier this year, Renzi had promised to create 900,000 posts for the young but so far this new system hasn’t worked. Some 189,000 youths signed up for it but so far only 49,357 have been called in and only 32,297 have been interviewed. At the moment, it appears, only 16,947 positions are available.

ISTAT’s figures show that this kind of unemployment is currently at its highest level since 1977 even though this summer the overall unemployment rate – still twice as high as that of neighboring Germany   –  dropped by 0,3%  to 12.3%.

The outlook is not good. Italy is currently suffering from deflation and a drop in consumption. Industrial production, which has fallen some 25% over the last four years, is still declining, in contrast to Spain and France where it has stabilized. Economists at the CNEL research institute say that to return to pre-depression levels, unemployment should drop to 7% which means that two million jobs should be created in the next five years, something – they admit  – that seems very unlikely.

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