Italy’s jobless rate hits 13.6 percent in Q1

Italy’s unemployment rate hit 13.6 percent in the first three months of this year - 0.8 percent higher than in the same period in 2013 - while youth unemployment reached 46 percent, the national statistics agency Istat said on Tuesday.

Italy's jobless rate hits 13.6 percent in Q1
Italy's unemployment rate reached 13.6 percent for the first quarter of this year. Photo: Controluce/AFP

The agency said 3.48 million Italians were out of work in the first quarter of this year, a rise of 212,000 since the same period last year.

The situation remains most precarious for the under-25s, with Italy's youth unemployment rate reaching 46 percent for the quarter. Only Spain and Greece have worse rates of youth joblessness within the European Union.

Meanwhile, a report by the European Commission in May found that at 59.8 percent, Italy had one of the worst employment rates in Europe in 2013. Only Greece, with 53.2 percent, and Croatia, with 53.9 percent, fared worse.

READ MORE HERE: Italy's employment rate is one of Europe's worst

In May, the Italian government agreed to ease rules for firms that hire temporary staff, as part of an overall plan to revamp Italy’s labour laws and encourage more recruitment.

READ MORE HERE: ‘New law will encourage more hiring’

Elsewhere, Spain's jobless queue shrank dramatically in May, the Spanish government said on Tuesday, encouraging news for an economy gingerly recovering from a long, job-wrecking downturn.

The number of people registered as unemployed fell by 111,916 from the previous month to 4.57 million, the steepest decline for the month of May since 1998, the country's Labour Ministry said.

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