Major EU economy sees jump in unemployment

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After six straight months of reduction, Italy’s unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 7.6% in July, according to preliminary government statistics released on Thursday.

According to Istat, 73,000 jobs were lost during the month, and the unemployment rate rose for the first time since February.

Reuters polled economists, who predicted the jobless rate to fall to 7.4%. In the same month last year, the rate was 8%.

This year, the number of employed in the Eurozone’s third largest economy was 1.6% higher than in July 2022, with 362,000 more jobs.

Despite the poor July data, the employment rate in Italy increased by 0.5% in the three months preceding it, compared to the February-through-April period.

According to the data, the overall employment rate of 61.3% is ranked as one of the lowest in the euro area, and the unemployment rate among young people aged between 15 and 24 saw a month-over-month drop to 22.1%, compared to 22.2% recorded in June.

The preliminary statistics also revealed that Italy’s GDP fell 0.3% quarter on quarter in the April-June period, with the next quarters projected to show slow results, owing in part to the recent hikes in key interest rates.

The government officially anticipates full-year GDP growth of 1% this year, compared to a 3.7% increase in 2022.