Italy June jobless rate drops sharply to 9.7%, far below forecasts, as 166,000 jobs created

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Italy’s unemployment rate fell sharply to 9.7% in June from a downwardly revised 10.2% in May, data showed on Friday, as some 166,000 jobs were created in the month, national statistics bureau ISTAT reported.

A Reuters survey of 9 analysts had forecast a June jobless rate of 10.4%.

May’s rate was revised down from an originally reported 10.5%, and the previous three months were also revised down.

In the second quarter of the year, employment was up by 223,000, or 1%, compared with the January-to-March period, ISTAT said.

Compared with June last year, employment was up by 267,000, or 1.2%, ISTAT said.

However, since February 2020, the last month before the labour market was hit by the country’s coronavirus epidemic, the number of people in work was still down by 470,000, and the employment rate was down by 0.8 percentage points.

In June, the youth unemployment rate, measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, fell to 29.4% from 30.7% the month before, hitting its lowest level for more than a year.

Italy’s overall employment rate, one of the lowest in the euro zone, rose significantly in June to 57.9% from 57.5%.

Highlighting the devastating impact of the coronavirus on the economy, Italy’s gross domestic product shrank by 8.9% last year, its steepest post-war recession.

Photo: A waiter wearing a protective face mask carries a tray at the outdoor area of the ‘Caffe Quadri’ on San Marco square in Venice, Italy. EPA-EFE/ANDREA MEROLA

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