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Italy Unemployment Rate Remains Near Record High in June

July 31 (Bloomberg) -- Italy’s unemployment rate stayed near a record high in June as companies remain reluctant to hire amid the country’s recession.

Joblessness dropped to 12.1 percent from 12.2 percent in May, which was the highest since the data series began in the first quarter of 1977, the Rome-based national statistics office Istat said in a preliminary report today. The June rate was lower than the 12.3 percent median of nine estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Unemployment remained above 10 percent for a 17th month.

Last month, Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s Cabinet approved tax breaks for companies that offer permanent job contracts to young workers or convert temporary contracts into open-ended ones. Letta has said the government plans to pass a second package of measures for youth employment later this year.

The unemployment rate for people between the age of 15 and 24 rose to 39.1 percent in June, Istat said today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chiara Vasarri in Rome at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at

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