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Italian June Jobless Rate Rises to Highest in Almost 13-Years

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July 31 (Bloomberg) -- Italy’s jobless rate rose to the highest in almost 13 years in June as employers remain reluctant to hire amid a deepening recession.

The unemployment rate increased to a seasonally-adjusted 10.8 percent, the highest since the third quarter of 1999, from a revised 10.6 percent in May, Rome-based national statistics office Istat said in a preliminary report today. Economists forecast an increase to 10.3 percent, the median of eight estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Italy’s economy shrank for a third straight quarter in the first three months of 2012 as the region’s debt crisis worsened and Prime Minister Mario Monti’s austerity measures pushed the country deeper into its fourth recession since 2001. The young have been particularly hard hit, with joblessness among people aged 15 to 24 at 34.3 percent in June, Istat said.

Industrial output in the euro region’s third-biggest economy probably fell 1.7 percent in the three months through June from the previous quarter as orders dropped, signaling the economy likely contracted for a fourth quarter, Rome-based employers lobby Confindustria said in a note on July 26.

Last week an Italian judge ordered the partial closure of the Ilva steel plant in the southern city of Taranto over pollution concerns, prompting unions to call an indefinite strike. The decision, which may affect 12,000 employees, followed an inquiry into whether chemicals pumped from the plant caused high cancer rates and other diseases in the area.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chiara Vasarri in Rome at cvasarri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net

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