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Italy Joblessness Rate Held at Highest in 13 Years in November

Italy’s jobless rate remained at the highest level in more than 13 years as businesses refrained from hiring as the country’s recession extended into a second year.

The unemployment rate in November held at a seasonally-adjusted 11.1 percent, Rome-based national statistics office Istat said in a preliminary report today. Economists had predicted a reading of 11.2 percent, according to the median of eight estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Unemployment remained above 10 percent for a 10th month.

Italian household confidence remained near a record low in December as consumers were still pessimistic about the length of country’s fourth recession since 2001. Still, confidence among business executives rose in the same month after the nation’s borrowing costs declined as Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government stepped up efforts to bring the budget deficit under 3 percent of gross domestic product.

Italy entered the recession in the final quarter of 2011. Both the government and the central bank expect a recovery in the second half of 2013 amid increasing exports.

The unemployment rate for people between the age of 15 and 24 reached 37.1 percent, the highest since the fourth quarter of 1992.

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