Italy loses almost one million jobs in a year to the coronavirus crisis

In coronavirus-stricken Italy, almost one million people lost their jobs over the course of a year, official data showed on Tuesday, fuelling fresh concerns about the cost of the pandemic.

Italy loses almost one million jobs in a year to the coronavirus crisis
Protests in Rome on Tuesday against Italy’s continued coronavirus closures. The banners read: "Time’s up. I need to work for a living" and "I will open" Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

In February, the number of employed people stood at just under 22.2 million, broadly stable from January, but down by 945,000 compared with February 2020, national statistics office Istat said.

The labour market slump was widespread, affecting male and female workers, salaried workers and the self-employed, and “all age groups”, it said.

Over the same period, the unemployment rate rose slightly, from 9.8 percent to 10.2 per cent, but the ranks of those out of work and not looking for a job swelled dramatically.


Francesco Seghezzi, a labour market expert who leads the Adapt think tank, said “one million jobs [lost] in a year is an enormous figure”.

Noting that the crisis was hitting younger people and those with precarious jobs hardest, he warned that a “rebalancing is needed, or a generation is at risk”.

The number of so-called “inactives” rose by 717,000, to more than 14 million. But they are excluded from unemployment statistics – thus explaining the modest rise in the jobless rate.

Italy in February this year recorded its biggest contraction in GDP since the end of World War II, marking one of the worst economic slumps in Europe.

Cgil, the country’s main trade union, called Tuesday’s labour data “tragic” and said it justified a further extension of temporary welfare measures introduced to soften the impact of the pandemic.

The government has tried to protect workers by subsidising furlough schemes and prohibiting employers from firing staff.

That ban is currently valid until late June, and was extended to late October for some industries.

Small business owners and employees protested in cities across Italy on Tuesday after the government announced restrictions, including closures of restaurants, bars and most shops, would continue throughout April.

Italy’s coronavirus pandemic began in late February 2020, and the country was the first in Europe to declare a national lockdown in early March.

Member comments

  1. You mean open like in the United States with their moron Trump where there are now over 560,000 deaths? Or Brazil with their genius President? Maybe you don’t have grandparents or family here but those of us who do are happy to still have them around. Sorry you couldn’t meet up with friends over Christmas (Easter you could meet one familial group once per day) to pass around Covid like presents…

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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.”