Italy and Ireland record the lowest unemployment in a decade

ALESSANDRO DI MARCO

Members and supporters of Italy's three main labour unions CGIL, CISL and UIL take part in a protest march against the austerity policy of Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta's government and in support of the right to education, in Turin, Italy, 14 December 2013. Protesters staged nationwide demonstrations against the government's 2014 draft budget law accused of failing to address record unemployment, including one in four young people out of work, or boost funds to a struggling education system.

Italy and Ireland record the lowest unemployment in a decade


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Unemployment figures in the Eurozone confirm a picture of robust economic recovery as Italy and Ireland record the highest level of employment in a decade.

Over the first quarter of 2018 it seems that the racist acronym PIIGS coined Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs to signal the countries undergoing an economic meltdown during the Eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis is out of an “I”.

In 2012 Irish unemployment reached a 16% peak. On Tuesday, the Irish national statistical service boasted unemployment to just below 6% (5,9%) and projects 5,3% over the course of 2019.

Italy’s performance is not as impressive. However, despite political turmoil and decelerating growth employment numbers continue to surge in April 2018 to 23.134 million, that is, the highest since July 2008.

Still, unemployment in Italy is still on double-digits of 11% and 5% higher than pre-crisis levels.

The best news is the surge in employment is triggered by more hires for the under 35s, with joblessness for the 15-to-24 dropping to the lowest levels since December 2011. The people not in education, training or employment for youth in March 2018 fell to its lowest level since 1977 (34,3%).

GDP growth and declining levels of unemployment can be deceiving.

The nature of the labour market across the EU is not accompanied by a surge in wages and disposable income. The European Central Bank is struggling to meet inflation targets, an experience that is similar in the UK and the United States.

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