Italian Unemployment Unchanged at 11.4%, Youth Jobless Down

  • Government lowered forecasts for growth, labor market
  • Youth joblessness drops to 38.8% after a rise in July

Italy’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 11.4 percent in August, while youth joblessness fell slightly, as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi faces a key referendum in December.

Unemployment last month matched the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 15 analysts. Youth unemployment fell to 38.8 percent from 39.2 percent in July, statistics agency Istat said in Rome on Friday, keeping the gauge under 40 percent for the 14th straight month.

Earlier this week, the Rome-based Treasury cut Italy’s growth forecasts for this year and next, saying the country’s exports will be weaker than previously expected. In its economic plan, the government also lowered its estimates for the labor market, projecting the unemployment to remain above 11 percent even in 2017.

Renzi and his government will be put to the test in a Dec. 4 referendum on a reform of the Senate aimed at streamlining the legislative process and increase political stability. He promised to step down if he loses the vote, although he has refused to be drawn into a discussion of the issue in recent interviews.

There were 13,000 more people employed in August in Italy compared with the prior month, Istat said Friday.

Italian household morale fell this month to the lowest in more than a year as consumers grew pessimistic about the outlook for growth and employment in coming months, Istat said earlier this week.

— With assistance by Giovanni Salzano

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