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Italy’s Employment Growth: Record Figures, Yet Still Trailing in Europe

According to Censis and Istat data, employment in Italy has reached historic highs with 23.4 million people employed in the first half of this year. This positive news reflects the consolidation of the employment expansion phase initiated as early as 2021. However, despite this remarkable milestone, the country still lags behind in Europe regarding the employment rate, with an increase of 2% bringing it to 61.8%, still below the European average by almost 10 percentage points.

Italy’s Employment: Positive Data Amid European Challenges

While the data highlights a consistent growth in Italian employment, it also underscores a significant challenge compared to other European countries. According to Eurostat, Italy ranks last in Europe for the employment rate, emphasizing the need for additional efforts to align with European standards. Despite the 2% increase between 2020 and 2022, the gap remains considerable.

Delayed Female Employment

A critical aspect emerging from the data is the issue of female employment in Italy. Although 51.1% of women currently work, this figure is well below the European average of 64.9%, placing Italy at the bottom of the European list for this indicator as well. Despite an increase from 20 years ago when only 45.1% of women worked, the figure for younger female workers (under 34) is decreasing, dropping from 44.1% to 37.3% over almost two decades. This trend indicates the need for greater efforts in promoting youth female employment.

Italy’s Employment Growth Amid Persistent Challenges

Despite the positive trend in Italian employment, the slowing economic context led to an increase of 27,000 employed individuals in October. The rise includes men, women, and permanent employees, while there is a decrease in temporary employees and the self-employed. However, the total unemployment rate has risen to 7.8%, indicating there are still challenges to maintaining labor market stability. Employment growth is positive, but the number of people seeking employment has increased by 2.3%, equivalent to 45,000 individuals, involving both men and women and all age groups except the 35-49 age group, which experienced a slight decline.

Youth Employment and Stable Contracts

The situation for those under 35 is mixed: while the number is increasing, the youth unemployment rate stands at 24.7%, emphasizing the need for targeted interventions. The good news is the increase in stable contracts, especially for permanent employees, exceeding 15.7 million units. This indicates a positive trend towards more secure and stable jobs, but it remains an area to focus on for further improvement in youth employment.

Future Perspectives and Conclusions

Despite the growth in Italian employment, the data highlights persistent challenges, especially in female and youth employment. While the country celebrates the employment record, there is a need to focus on active policies to improve its position in Europe and ensure job opportunities for all categories of workers. The road is still long, but the positive data indicates the trend is heading in the right direction. Addressing the remaining challenges will provide a solid foundation for a more prosperous and inclusive future for the Italian labor market.


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