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Italy Joblessness Rate Holds at Highest in More Than 13 Years

Italy’s unemployment rate held at the highest level in 13 years in December as companies failed to hire amid concerns over the outlook for the country’s recession.

The joblessness rate was unchanged from a revised 11.2 percent in November, the Rome-based national statistics office Istat said in a preliminary report today. The December rate matched the median of seven estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Unemployment remained above 10 percent for an 11th month.

Confidence among households and businesses fell this month as the country’s fourth recession since 2001 damped optimism. The euro region’s third-biggest economy shrank at least 0.6 percent in the three months through December, employers lobby Confindustria said in a Jan. 28 report. Italy entered the recession in the final quarter of 2011. The slump deepened as Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government introduced spending cuts and tax increased to contain the deficit.

The unemployment rate for people between the age of 15 and 24 reached fell to 36.6 percent from 36.8 percent, Istat said today.

Istat originally reported an unemployment rate of 11.1 percent in November.

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