During the first quarter of 2017 Italian economy recorded a quarter-on-quarter increase of Gdp by 0.4% and a year-on-year growth by 1.2%. In the Euro area as a whole economy grew by 0.5% to the previous quarter and by 1.7% to the same quarter of 2016. Signs of speeding up in the economic activity growth, particularly in many services sectors, were associated to the labour absorption by an expanding production system: the total hours worked grew by 0.3% to the previous quarter and by 0.8% on an annual basis.
On the labour supply side, employment showed a growth on a short term basis (+52 thousand, 0.2%), due to a further increase of employees (+78 thousand, +0.4%) – mainly the fixed-term (+51 thousand, 2.1%) – while the self-employed decreased again (-26 thousand, -0.5%). The employment rate grew by 0.2 points to the previous quarter. The most recent data, the seasonally adjusted monthly ones for April 2017, showed a relevant increase in
employed persons (+0.4% on March, corresponding to +94 thousand people), involving both employees and the self-employed.
The dynamics between the first quarter 2017 and the same period of the previous year led to an increase of 326 thousand employed persons (+1.5%) involving employees only, of which two third belonged to the fixed-term group, while the self-employed decreased. In absolute terms the increase was mainly related to full-time employees, and part-time employment increased exclusively in the voluntary component. Employment growth involved both genders and all geographical areas, including also the aged 15-34 and 50 and over.
Unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to the previous quarter, with a reduction of 49 thousand unemployed on a short-term basis, while the indicator remained stable on a yearly basis. These trends were reinforced by April’s results, that showed a relevant decrease in the unemployed number.
The number of the inactive aged 15-64 (-473
thousand in a year) kept on decreasing as well as the corresponding inactivity rate. In the year-on-year comparison inactivity reduction was spread over gender, territory and age class, it involved both persons willing to work (-291 thousand potential labour forces) and those farther from the labour market (-183 thousand persons not seeking and not available for work).
Changes in stock evidenced significant changes in the labour market condition of persons, as measured by flow data over a twelve-month period. Permanence in employment increased as a whole (+0.4 points) but the transitions from fixed-term to permanent employee decreased (from 24.2% to 19.6%). Moreover the transitions from inactivity towards unemployment (+0.9 points) and to a lesser extent towards employment (+0.4 points) increased.
As for enterprises, the signs of growth in labour demand were confirmed with an increase of employee jobs by 0.6% to the previous quarter, as a result of a rise in both industry and services. However
the hours worked per employee decreased (-0.6%), though the use of short-time working allowance hours decreased as well. Vacancy rate remained unchanged on a quarter-on-quarter basis, while increased by 0.2 percentage points year-on-year. On a quarter-on-quarter basis wages and salaries increased (+0.5%) as well as labour cost (0.6%). A part of the latter was due to the larger rise in social security contributions (+1.2%), due to the gradual weakening of the effects of the favorable contributions associated to new hiring of permanent employees during the past two years.