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Italian Unemployment Rate Held at 10.7% in July on Recession

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Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Italy’s jobless rate held at a seasonally-adjusted 10.7 percent in July as employers remain reluctant to hire amid a deepening recession.

June’s reading was revised to 10.7 percent from 10.8 percent, Rome-based national statistics office Istat said in a preliminary report today. Economists forecast an increase to 10.9 percent in July, the median of eight estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Italy’s economy contracted for a fourth straight quarter in the three months through June as Prime Minister Mario Monti’s policies contributed to deepening the fourth recession since 2001.

The young have been particularly hard hit, with joblessness among people aged 15 to 24 at 35.3 percent in July, Istat said.

Concerns the economic slump will worsen prompted Fiat SpA to temporarily stop new investments in Italy. Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne may close another factory after shuttering a plant in Sicily last year. The carmaker will also halt production at Pomigliano, near Naples, for two weeks starting Sept. 24 because of weak demand, a union official said Aug. 29.

Joblessness in the second quarter rose to 10.6 percent from 10.1 percent in the first three months of the year, Istat said today. The statistics agency originally reported June unemployment at 10.8 percent.

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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