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Employment in Italy

The Effects of Italy's Austerity Measures?

Italy’s official statistics office ISAT releases figures on employment and unemployment levels regularly and on the 30th September, an update on Italy’s employment situation was made public.  The figures reveal that there are anomalies concerning unemployment levels in Italy’s south.

So how many people in Italy are available for work? A total of 25.041 million Italians.

Of the total, 23.094 million Italians were in gainful officially registered employment in the second quarter of 2011.

For the purposes of analysis, Italy is traditionally split into three chunks – the North, the Centre and the South.

Italy refers to its southern regions as the ‘Mezzogiorno‘ which is ‘midday’ in English.  To avoid confusion, I will simply refer to the Italy’s south as the South.

Total Workforce in Italy

  • The North – 11.927 million + 656,000 = 12.583 million
  • The Centre – 4.885 million + 345,000 = 5.23 million
  • The South – 6.282 million + 946,000 = 7.228 million

People in Employment in Italy

The figures for each section of Italy were (Q2 2011):

  • The North – 11.927 million – 6.808 million men – 5.120 million women
  • The Centre – 4.885 million – 2.811 million men – 2.072 million women
  • The South – 6.282 million – 4.077 million men – 2.205 million women

This gives a total of 23.094 million.  19.507 million Italians are in full time work, 3.586 work part time.  There were 17.214 million employees and 2.350 million have work contracts with a fixed term.  ‘Fixed term’ means the contracts are not permanent.

The population of Italy, according to the CIA World Fact Book is 61,016,804 (July 2011 est.)

Now, here are the figures for those without jobs in Italy.

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1.947 million Italians were without work in the second quarter of 2011.

People Not in Employment in Italy

Broken down as follows:

  • The North – 656,000 – 319,000 men – 337,000 women – 5.5% unemployed
  • The Centre – 345,o00 – 163,000 men – 182,000 women – 7.0% unemployed
  • The South – 946,000 – 537,000 men – 409,000 women – 15.0% unemployed

The South, aside from the high numbers, and as you may have noted, is unusual in that it is the only section of Italy in which the number of unemployed men exceeds that of unemployed womenAnomaly One.

Italy’s complex and badly run south is a truly unusual animal, rather like a platypus.  Official figures do not tell the whole story as in Italy’s southern regions unofficial, unregistered employment is common.  And this is without mentioning another ’employer’ in south Italy – organised crime.

True Unemployment in Italy’s South – Anomaly Two

It’s not easy to estimate how many of southern Italians are in unofficial employment, but by looking at the unemployment levels for the North and the Centre – at 5.5% and 7.0%, it would be possible to assume that the actual unemployment figure for Italy’s south probably lies in the region of 8% or around 578,000 people.  This would mean some 368,000 Italians in Italy’s south are working below the radar.  While that is quite a significant number, it is only a rough and ready estimate.  Still, if it is close to the truth, Italy’s government is losing significant sums in terms of annual tax revenue.

Current Unemployment Level in Italy

The overall official unemployment level for Italy as a whole in Q2 of 2011 was 7.8%.  In numbers, this translates into around 2 million Italians who are not working – at least on paper.


Istat report in Italian  -(.pdf download) Employed and Unemployed – August 2011 – provisional and Q2 2011

The figures ISTAT published for August 2011 are provisional.  Other data refers to the second quarter of 2011.

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