Substantial rises in unemployment index to 16 percent, and is highest among women (18.6 percent) and young people (34.2 percent)

More than 9 million citizens in Italy are in serious labor difficulties: unemployed, victims of precariousness, poor work and facing numerous impediments in their search for employment. This is what emerges from the latest report released by the Di Vittorio Foundation entitled “Employment hardship and substantial unemployment in 2021 in Italy.”

According to an estimate, considered by the FDV “conservative, but very realistic,” there are about 4.3 million people in the area of substantial unemployment. The unemployment index thus rises to 16.0 percent, compared with the official figure of 9.5 percent. The substantial unemployment index is significantly higher among women (18.6 percent) and young people up to 24 years of age (34.2 percent), it remains above 20 percent in the 25-34 age group.

But even among those in work, there is a rapidly growing area of employment malaise, which, as Foundation President Fulvio Fammoni explains, “progressively feeds the pool of poor work, linked to the increase in involuntary fixed-term employment and the consequent gaps in activity; to involuntary part-time work; and to suspended employees, that is, those absent from work for a period of three months or less.”

Hardship, as the FDV notes, is more common in female employment (28.4 percent) than in male employment (16.8 percent); it is most prevalent among the very young (15-24) entering the labor market (61.7 percent) and affects one-third of employed 25-34 year olds; the hardship index decreases with age but is still above 20 percent in the 35-44 year old class. The hardship index is well below 20 percent in the northern distributions, and is between 27 percent and 30 percent in the south and the islands; it decreases with educational qualification: from 32.2 percent of those employed with an elementary school diploma to 18.1 percent of those with a university degree.

“In essence,” Fammoni stresses, “there are more than 9 million citizens who have significant problems with work, because they are unemployed, prevented by objective factors from looking for work or unsatisfied with their working condition, which they suffer involuntarily and which too often places these people in the pool of poor work.

Finally, job insecurity is increasing significantly. In 2008 there were an estimated 23 million employed people, but there were 2.4 million temps; today, with a similar number of employed people, there are 3.2 million precarious workers (800,000 more).

“The FDV research,” says CGIL confederal secretary Tania Scacchetti, “is a snapshot of a country in decline that urgently needs investments oriented and aimed at employment growth, but also interventions to regulate the labor market to improve its quality.

For the union leader, “three data out of all to highlight: a growth in employment driven more by the demographic decline than by the push of GDP growth, a band of employment hardship that now involves almost two out of ten citizens. Young people and women unfortunately mark the worst figures.”

For this reason, according to Scacchetti, “we need new industrial policies that know how to guide a just transition and bet on digital innovation; a new role for the state that, starting with the public system and the guarantee of citizenship rights, sets itself the goal of full and good employment; interventions that have as their objective the growth of wages and the reshaping and reduction of working hours; a decisive intervention to counter precariousness and encourage good regulation of the labor market.”

Finally, stresses the union leader, “the condition of eternal precariousness and strong discomfort in the world of work not only holds back the life projects of individuals, but tells of a wrong model of development that plays its competitiveness on poor work and compression of rights. A model of development,” Scacchetti concludes, “that must be changed.”


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