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Press release

Labour market

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Q4 2016 showed a new increase in participation in the labour market. The labour input used in the economic system (expressed by the hours worked in the national accounts) increased by 0.4% quarter-on-quarter and by 1.6% year-over-year. Employment, net of seasonal effects, as estimated by the labour force survey was equal to 22,827 million people, on the increase over the previous quarter (+0.1%, +32 thousand) after remaining stable in the third quarter. The employment rate grew to 57.4% (+0.1 percentage points), the result of a slight decline for the 15-34 year olds (-0.1 percentage points), a substantial stability for the 35-49 year olds, and a growth for the 50-64 year olds (+0.4 points).

The quarter-on-quarter increase in the number of persons employed was the result of a recovery in self-employment (+28 thousand, +0.5%), of the further increase in fixed-term employees (+22 thousand, +0.9%), and of the slight decrease in permanent employees
(-17 thousand, -0.1%). The increase in employment showed no differences by gender, but was more concentrated in the Centre and North area (+76 thousand, +0.5%) while it decreased in the South and Islands (-43 thousand, -0.7%).

The unemployment rate confirmed at 11.9%, up by 0.2 percentage points after the substantial stability over the four previous quarters. The inactivity rate continued to decline at a faster rate (-0.3 percentage points) and reached 34.7%.

Employee jobs in industrial and services enterprises increased by 0.6% on a quarterly basis and by 2.6% on an annual basis; at the same time, total hours worked grew by 1.0% over the previous quarter and by 4.1% year-over-year, as well as hours worked per capita went up by 0.2% and 0.9%, respectively.

Short-time working allowance hours decreased from 14.8 to 11.6 per thousand hours worked on an annual basis. Temporary employment agency jobs grew by 4.2% on a quarterly basis and by 13.0% year-over-year.
The job vacancy rate in
enterprises with 10 or more employees increased by 0.1 percentage points both on the previous quarter and on an annual basis.

The seasonally adjusted labour cost index per full-time equivalent employee was stable on a quarterly basis as well as wages, against a 0.1% increase in social security contributions. On an annual basis, labour cost was stable, too, as a result of a 0.2% increase in wages and a 0.4% decrease in social security contributions.

The slight increase in social contributions on a quarterly basis, after a period of reduction due to new contracts for permanent employees in 2015, indicate a weakening of the effects of this labour market policy.

In this quarter the “Focus on” at pages 5-6 goes deep into the trends of the main indicators on labor supply at the local level through the analysis of annual data from the Labour force survey.
The methodological note (in the Italian version) presents the confidence intervals of sample estimates of non-seasonally adjusted key
indicators on labour supply and of some indicators on labour demand.

Reference period: Fourth quarter 2016

Date of Issue: 10 March 2017

Next release: 9 June 2017

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