Home Uncategorized Unemployment insurance: Italy’s official rate rises to 8.9 percent

Unemployment insurance: Italy’s official rate rises to 8.9 percent

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Italy’s unemployment rate in April rose to 8.9 percent from 8.8 percent in March, reaching the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2001, Italy’s statistical agency ISTAT said on Tuesday.

About 21,000 people joined the ranks of the unemployed in April, according to provisional data released by ISTAT, which began compiling monthly unemployment figures in 2004.

The total stood at 2.22 million in April, for a one percent increase over the March figure and 20.1 percent over April 2009. Unemployment in the 15-24 age group grew to 29.5 percent in April from 28.1 percent in March.

Mario Draghi, the head of the Bank of Italy, said on Monday that youth unemployment was of great concern, adding that sluggish recovery would increase the likelihood of persistent unemployment.

Over the past months the number of job-seekers in Italy has grown steadily, rising to more than two million last October for the first time since 2004. Until mid-2009, Italy was able to keep unemployment under control thanks to a temporary layoff scheme allowing companies to halt operations for months at a time if business was slow, with workers covered by public unemployment insurance.

Milan, June 1, 2010 (AFP)