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Italy - National Level

Short overview of the labour market


ISTAT figures show that, on 1 January 2019, Italy had a resident population of 60 391 000, down 90 000 on 2018.

The number of Italian citizens has declined to 55 157 000, whereas resident foreign citizens numbered 5 234 000, accounting for about 8.7 % of the total population.

There were 449 000 births in 2018, 9 000 fewer than recorded in 2017.

The natural balance between births and deaths is negative (-187 000), the second lowest after the all-time low of 2017 (-191 000).

On the other hand, the balance of migration to/from foreign countries is positive, with a slight increase recorded on 2017. Both immigration (+1.7 %) and emigration (+3.1 %) are up.

There are very wide regional differences in the labour market.

A slight fall in employment had already been observed in the fourth quarter of 2018. This was confirmed in May 2019 by a quarterly rise in contracts of employment (+14 000 compared with May 2018), while demand for labour is again showing a positive annual trend (+4 000 compared with May 2018).

In the first quarter of 2019, there were signs of economic recovery, with a slight (0.1%) quarterly rise in recruitment (+25 000) after two periods in which the number of jobs had fallen.

At the end of 2018, the figure for seasonally adjusted employment stood at 58.8%, in line with the previous quarter, with a slight rise for women and a fall for men.

A quarterly downturn was recorded in self-employment (-0.4 %) in the last quarter of 2018, the effect of which is to slow the growth rate (+12 000 employed persons, +0.2 %). On the other hand, an increase in employed posts was recorded, especially in the service sector and industry.

On the other hand, in its annual trend for 2019, ISTAT records a rise of 144 000 people in work (0.6 % in 1 year), both on contracts of employment (+92 000) and self-employed (+52 000). While there is a rise in full-time employment, the main rise is in part-time working, with paid part-timers accounting for 64.1 % of the workforce.

The growth recorded above relates to market services (+46 000 jobs) and industrial production (+16 000), while agriculture continues to decline (-11 000 jobs).

On the other hand, according to the statistics recorded at the end of 2018, the annual trend in employment was +87 000 jobs, with falls in the numbers of job seekers (-105 000) and of non-working persons (-100 000).

Employment is rising in 2019, especially in the North (+1.4 %) and in Central Italy (+0.3%), whereas it has fallen for the second quarter running in the South and on the islands.

The number of unemployed is falling (-138 000, -4.6 %). This applies to both sexes, to various parts of Italy and to age groups except the over-50s, an age group which had seen a rise in employment in the last quarter of 2018.

The number of non-working people aged 15-64 is falling (-130 000 in a year, -1.0 %).

Analysis of immigration flow data – based on figures that are 12 months old – indicates a fall in long-term employment, especially in the southern regions and in the 55-64 age band, who are moving into retirement.

As for companies, in 2019 demand for labour continues to rise, with a 1.7 % increase on an annualised basis. This is due to growth in industry and services, though reliance on the Wages Guarantee Fund (CIG) remains at a high level, though less widespread.

The rate of vacancies is generally steady in 2019, but rising on an annual basis (0.1 %). The cost of labour is increasing (1.2 %) compared with the previous quarter and now stands 3.4 % higher than the same quarter last year, reflecting increases in pay and social security contributions.

ISTAT, Quarterly Note on Employment Trends, Q4 2018.

Unioncamere-ANPAL, Excelsior information system: Press release, first four months of 2019 – 17/06/2019


Text last edited on: 09/2019

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