In its report on the eurozone on Monday, the IMF said that “without a significant acceleration of the growth rate”, it will take Italy “almost 20 years to reduce the unemployment rate to pre-crisis levels.”
The IMF was slightly less pessimistic about Spain, which will need ten years to achieve the same, while Portugal will also require 20 years.
Italy’s jobless rate, which currently stands at 12.4 percent, has almost doubled since 2008.
But Italy’s treasury hit back, saying the data did not take into account the labour reforms enacted at the beginning of the year, which has led to a 21.9 percent rise in the number of permanent job contracts given, compared to 17.11 percent last year, Corriere reported.
The IMF also urged the Italian government to swiftly “adopt and implement” the planned civil service reform, which should include measures on the provision of local services, competition for public contracts and management of human resources.
The dismal IMF forecast comes a few weeks after Italy’s central bank said the country’s public debt level had hit a new record of €2.2 trillion in May, up by €23.4 billion in a month.
Italy’s public debt of more than 130 percent of GDP is second only to Greece in the eurozone.
The outlook also comes two months after the IMF raised its growth forecast for Italy to 0.7 percent this year, from 0.2 percent, and to 1.2 percent in 2016 from 1.1 percent.