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Italy Unemployment Rises to Record High in Challenge for Renzi

Italy’s unemployment rate rose to a record high in January, signaling that companies may fail to hire even after the economy returned to growth in the last quarter of 2013.

Unemployment increased to 12.9 percent from 12.7 percent in December, the Rome-based national statistics office Istat said in a preliminary report today. The January rate is the highest since the data series began in the first quarter of 1977. The median estimate of five economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an unemployment rate of 12.7 percent last month.