Italy Consumer Morale Falls More Than Expected Amid Jobs Worries

Italian households’ confidence fell more than economists expected as consumers remain cautious about the economy’s ability to extend a recovery from its longest recession on record.

The gauge declined in July to 106.5 from a revised 109.3 in June, the Rome-based national statistics agency Istat said on Tuesday. Economists predicted 109, according to the median of 11 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

Italians grew pessimistic about both their personal future and the country’s economic outlook, according to Istat. Unemployment in the euro region’s third-biggest economy has exceeded 12 percent for more than two years as employers refrained from hiring amid falling domestic demand.

“Without a significant pick-up in growth,” it would take Italy “nearly 20 years to reduce the unemployment rate to pre-crisis levels,” the International Monetary Fund said in a report on Monday.

Italy’s gross domestic product will expand 0.7 percent this year and 1.5 percent in 2016, the country’s central bank said earlier this month.

Morale among the nation’s executives dropped as well this month, with the business confidence index falling to 103.6 from 103.9 in June, Istat said.