SHARE
COPY LINK

BUSINESS

Italy reports one of Europe’s worst economic slumps in 2020

Italy has reported its biggest contraction in GDP since the end of World War II.

Italy reports one of Europe's worst economic slumps in 2020
Coronavirus restrictions in the last quarter of 2020 hit businesses particularly hard. Photo: AFP

Italy's virus-stricken economy shrank by 8.9 percent last year, national statistics office Istat said on Tuesday.

The figure is a first estimate, subject to revision, which is slightly more optimistic than what had been forecast by the Bank of Italy and the
International Monetary Fund. 

Both had predicted a 9.2-percent annual fall in gross domestic product (GDP).

But it is still one of the worst in Europe, compared with a fall of 5.0 percent in Germany and 8.3 percent in France.

Spain's economy did worse, with a drop of 11 percent.

Things were particularly bad for Italy in the last quarter, when GDP shrank by 2.0 percent compared to the previous three months.

The economy was hit by a new round of restrictions introduced to combat the second wave of coronavirus later in the year, Istat noted.

 

More than 420,000 jobs were lost in Italy between February and December, including 101,000 just in the month of December.

The slump also aggravated a long-existing gender gap in the labour market.

In December alone, 99,000 women lost their employment, versus only 2,000 men, Istat figures showed.

READ ALSO: Italy plans 'housewife bonus' to get more women into work

Fewer than half of working-age Italian women are in employment, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, even though women make up more than half of all Italians getting a bachelor's degree or PhD.

Economists say women in Italy have been disproportionately hit by job losses as they more often have insecure positions in service industries, such as in tourism or catering, which have been particularly badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

While manufacturing is one sector that has held up well in Italy, the economy is heavily reliant on tourism.

Italy, the eurozone's third largest economy, was the first European country hit by the pandemic.

In March 2020, it was also the first country in Europe to go into a national lockdown, with devastating economic consequences.

The outlook for Italy's economy in 2021 is uncertain amid political turmoil and delays to the vaccination rollout.

The country remains without a government after talks over the weekend failed.

Photo: AFP

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

SHOW COMMENTS