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Table: Italy's Rigid Labor Market

-- Long-term unemployment is highest in Europe. Those seeking work for more than 12 months represent 61% of the unemployed, compared with an EU average of 48%.

-- Employment level is the lowest in the EU, at 60% of the workforce. EU average is 69%.

-- Total unemployment is 9%. In the south, it tops 20%.

-- Firing workers is difficult. A 1970 statute protects employees against firing for "unjust cause," essentially giving them lifetime job security.

-- Productivity growth is stalled. The annual rate between 1995 and 2000 was 0.8%, compared with 2.5% in the U.S.

Data: Eurostat, OECD

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