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Italy Unemployment Rate Rises to Record 12.7% in November

Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Italy’s jobless rate rose more than expected in November, reaching a record high as companies failed to hire amid an uncertain economic outlook.

Unemployment increased to 12.7 percent from 12.5 percent in October, the Rome-based national statistics office Istat said in a preliminary report today.

The November rate, the highest since the data series began in the first quarter of 1977, was above the 12.6 percent median of four estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

The figure “casts some doubts on the possible recovery for the Italian economy in the near term,” Annalisa Piazza, senior fixed-income strategist at Newedge Group in London, said by e-mail. “The weak labor market certainly weighs on disposable income and as a consequence affects the near future spending pattern.”

Some 55,000 people lost their jobs in November from the previous month and joblessness among people between the ages of 15 and 24 rose to a record 41.6 percent, today’s report showed.

After a two-year contraction, Italian gross domestic product was flat in the third quarter compared with the previous three-month period, Istat said on Dec. 10.

Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who’s called unemployment the “real nightmare of our time,” has repeatedly urged European countries to adopt a common strategy. The unemployment rate in the euro area held at a record 12.1 percent in November, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today.

To contact the reporters on this story: Chiara Vasarri in Rome at cvasarri@bloomberg.net; Lorenzo Totaro in Rome at ltotaro@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net; Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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