While the rest of Europe’s troubled periphery has been enjoying a slow, if steady, economic improvement in recent years (it is unclear if it would sustain should the ECB’s QE backstop be withdrawn and sovereign interest rates spike), in an unexpected deterioration reported earlier this morning, Italy’s unemployment rate rose to the highest level since June 2015, as the country struggles to regain a solid economic footing.
According to Italy’s statistics agency Istat, the jobless rate jumped to 11.9% in November, up from a revised 11.8% the month before, and well above the 11.6% consensus forecast. Despite the headline deterioration, there were 19,000 more people employed in Italy in November compared with the month before, Bloomberg reports.
The Italian deterioration stood out across a stable European backdrop: the November unemployment rate for broader euro area was 9.8%, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said later Monday.
While Istat recently said on December 30, that businesses foresee an employment boost for Italy’s manufacturing industry, with a decrease in trade, construction and services, the practical reality is less optimistic especialy after UniCredit SpA, the nation’s largest bank, said last month it plans a 21% reduction of its workforce in Italy by 2019.
The government of new Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has been seeking to create more jobs to put the economy on a steady upward path. Growth picked up to 0.3 percent in the three months ended in September from near-stagnation in the previous quarter.