Although the organization acknowledged improvement in the Italian labour market in recent years, it noted that this was taking place “at a slower pace than other OECD countries” in its Employment Outlook 2018, released on Wednesday.
Real wages were falling despite some signs of economic recovery, something the OECD attributed to “stagnation of productivity” and the high proportion of workers on temporary or part-time contracts. Across all OECD countries, real wages grew by 0.6 percent between the fourth quarter of 2016 and the fourth quarter of 2017, but fell by 1.1 percent in Italy over the same time period.
Poverty had increased meanwhile, with 13.6 percent of working-age people living in households earning less than 50 percent of the median income — an increase of almost three percentage points over a decade.
Italy also performed badly in most rankings of job quality and inclusivity, scoring below the OECD average for job strain (the percentage of workers in jobs with high demands and few resources), low-income rate, gender income gap, and employment gap for disadvantaged groups, which was the fourth highest of all the countries included in the study. The level of job security was also the fourth highest across the OECD, outdone only in Greece, Spain, and Turkey.
There were some positive notes for Italy in the report however. The unemployment rate of 11.2 percent in April 2018 was almost five points about its 2008 level, but employment among 15-74-year-olds was close to returning to its level before the 2013 financial crisis. The OECD said its projections “suggest that these trends will continue in the next two years”.
Fewer than one in ten unemployed people in Italy were recipients of unemployment benefit in 2016, one of the lowest coverage rates in the EU, but the OECD predicted this would increase following reforms introduced in 2015.