In the third quarter of 2016 the Italian economy registered a 0.3% increase in GDP, in line with that of the Euro area, and a growth rate of 1% in trend terms. On the previous year rising levels of economic activities are associated with a growing use of labour by a production system which continues to grow, albeit at a very moderate pace: total hours worked went up by 0.1% over the previous quarter and by 1.6% year-over-year.
On the labour supply side, after five consecutive quarters of growth, in the third quarter of 2016 total employment showed a slight decline over the previous quarter (-14 thousand, -0.1%), due to the drop in the number of self-employed (-80 thousand, -1.5%) which more than offset the constant growth of employees (+66 thousand, +0.4%). These dynamics are not significantly differentiated by gender or region. The employment rate, too, remained stable on a quarterly basis. Most recent trends, measured on seasonally adjusted data for the month of October 2016, showed a new drop in employment, especially in permanent employment, against a modest growth in temporary employment and a broad stability in self-employment.
The year-on-year dynamics arisen between the third quarter of 2016 and the same quarter of the previous year led to a total growth of 239 thousand employed persons. Less marked than in the second quarter, this growth was only registered in permanent employment (+316 thousand), against a broad stability in temporary employment and a drop in self-employment The increase, in absolute terms, was more marked for full-time employment, while part-time employment grew only in its voluntary component. On the whole, employment mostly grew among women (+189 thousand over a year), almost exclusively among the over 50 age group.
The unemployment rate remained stable for the fourth consecutive quarter compared with the previous quarter and went up by 0.4 points over the same quarter of 2015, with a growth rate of 132 thousand unemployed. For the third consecutive quarter, the number of inactive people aged 15-64 (-528 thousand in a year) and the corresponding inactivity rate dropped dramatically. . In year-over-year comparison, the decline in inactivity was widespread by gender, region, and age group. A reduction can be observed both among those willing to work (-212 thousand of the potential labor force, especially among women) and among those furthest away from the labour market (-316 thousand people not working and not seeking or available to work).
Stock changes in employment were due to significant changes in people’s conditions in the labour market, measured by flow data after twelve months. Transitions from unemployment to employment mostly increased for people aged 35-49, for people with low educational attainment and for residents in the Centre and North; also transitions from inactivity to employment and unemployment increased, albeit at a modest pace.
As for enterprises, the signs of growth in labour demand were confirmed with a 0.6% increase in employee jobs over the previous quarter, associated to a slight reduction in hours worked per capita (-0.3%); the use of short-time working allowance payments, too, continued to decrease. Employee jobs growth was due to industry (excl. constructions) stability and increase in services; the job vacancy rate grew by 0.1 percentage points on a quarterly basis and remained stable on an annual basis. As for labour cost, social security contributions kept on decreasing (-0.6%) due to the significant rebate associated to new hiring of permanent employees.