Italy Unemployment Rate Drops To Lowest Since December 2012

Updated on
  • Data support view that recovery is extending to labor market
  • Economy grew 0.2 percent in third quarter, final reading shows

Italy’s unemployment rate fell more than economists estimated, reaching the lowest since December 2012 in a boost to expectations that the economic recovery is extending to the labor market.

The rate dropped to 11.5 percent in October, down from a revised 11.6 percent in the previous month, national statistics agency Istat said Tuesday in Rome. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of nine analysts called for 11.7 percent.

Italy’s economy grew 0.2 percent in the three months through September, Istat said separately in its final reading for the third quarter. In November consumer confidence rose to the highest level since the series began in 1995, while manufacturing business morale unexpectedly dropped after reaching the highest since early 2011. Inflation slowed in November to 0.1 percent.

On Monday Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said inflation at current levels is not satisfactory and that a higher rate would help Italy reducing its public debt of about 2.2 trillion euros ($2.3 trillion), the euro area’s second-largest as a measure of gross domestic product. While acknowledging that concerns over recent terrorist attack might weigh on recovery in the region, he said that the government’s forecast of a 0.9 percent real growth of the Italian economy in 2015 is confirmed.

Youth joblessness rose in October to 39.8 percent from a revised 39.4 percent in the previous month, Istat said. The rate has remained below 40 percent for four consecutive months after exceeding that level in the previous two years.

In the third quarter exports fell 0.8 percent as domestic consumption rose 0.4 percent, Istat said in the GDP report.

— With assistance by Giovanni Salzano, and Chiara Vasarri

(Updates with GDP report in third and last paragraphs.)
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