Employment growth stagnates in Italy amid weak economy

August 3rd, 2011 - 1:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Rome, Aug 3 (IANS/AKI) Italian unemployment declined slightly in June as companies in the eurozone’s third richest country were too pessimistic about the economy to go on a hiring spree.

Hardest hit were the country’s young workers between 15 and 24 years old, with almost 28 percent without work.

Joblessness was 8 percent in June, compared with 8.1 percent in May and 8.3 percent in June 2010, national statistics agency Istat said.

Italy’s sluggish economy in June prompted Confindustria, the country’s largest business association, to reduce its growth forecast to to 0.9 percent from 1.1 percent previously.

The economy - the third biggest among the 17 countries that use the euro currency - grew 0.1 percent in the first quarter, compared with a euro-region average of 0.8 percent.

Slow growth was one reason that business confidence in June slipped. Another was the country’s heavy debt load.

Italy’s 1.89 trillion euros of sovereign debt has also prompted credit agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s to issue warnings about the possibility of a downgrade.

–IANS/AKI
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